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Measuring psychosocial outcomes in schizophrenia patients

Figueira, Maria La; Brissos, Sofiab

Current Opinion in Psychiatry: March 2011 - Volume 24 - Issue 2 - p 91–99
doi: 10.1097/YCO.0b013e3283438119
Schizophrenia: Edited by W. Wolfgang Fleischhacker and Lynn E. DeLisi

Purpose of review Improvement in psychosocial functioning is nowadays considered an important and achievable goal of schizophrenia treatment. Therefore, treatment interventions are expected to have a positive influence both on symptoms and on social integration.

In this nonsystematic literature review, we describe some of the available measures to assess social outcomes in schizophrenia treatment and their inherent limitations, and discuss future directions for research and clinical practice.

Recent findings The lack of consensus on the appropriate terminology and standards applied to index patients' level of functioning remains an obstacle in assessing psychosocial outcomes in schizophrenia. Although some scales appear advantageous in terms of ease of administration and reliability, they lack enough solid evidence that they are related to real-world outcomes or sensitive to change. Performance-based measures are being more widely used to assess functional capacity because they appear effective in predicting independent living and work, as compared with both self-report and clinical measures.

Summary We argue that assessment of psychosocial functioning should be an integral part of schizophrenia patients' assessment, in both the research and clinical setting. Ultimately, there exists no gold standard measure, but, of those available, the Personal and Social Performance (PSP) Scale and the UCSD Performance-based Skills Assessment (UPSA) have literature supporting their usefulness for assessing psychosocial outcomes in schizophrenia patients.

aDepartment of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Hospital Santa Maria, University of Lisbon, Portugal

bLisbon's Psychiatric Hospitalar Centre, Lisbon, Portugal

Correspondence to Professor Dr Maria Luisa Figueira, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Hospital Santa Maria, University of Lisbon, Av. Prof. Egas Moniz, P-1649-035 Lisbon, Portugal Tel: +351 217990611; fax: +351 217990612; e-mail:

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.