Executive function does not predict coping with symptoms in stable patients with a diagnosis of schizophrenia

Bak, Maarten; Krabbendam, Lydia; Delespaul, Philippe; Huistra, Karola; Walraven, Wil; van Os, Jim
January 2008
BMC Psychiatry;2008, Vol. 8, Special section p1
Academic Journal
Background: Associations between coping with and control over psychotic symptoms were examined using the Maastricht Assessment of Coping Strategies-24, testing the hypothesis that the cognitive domain of executive functioning predicted quality and quantity of coping. Methods: MACS-24 was administered to 32 individuals with a diagnosis of schizophrenia. For each of 24 symptoms, experience of distress, type of coping and the resulting degree of perceived control were assessed. Coping types were reduced to two contrasting coping categories: symptomatic coping (SC) and non-symptomatic coping (NSC; combining active problem solving, passive illness behaviour, active problem avoiding, and passive problem avoiding). Cognitive functioning was assessed using the GIT (Groninger Intelligence Test), the Zoo map (BADS: Behavioural Assessment of Dysexecutive function), Stroop-test and Trail making. Results: Cognitive function was not associated with frequency of coping, nor did cognitive function differentially predict SC or NSC. Cognitive function similarly was not associated with symptom distress or level of perceived control over the symptom. Conclusion: There was no evidence that cognitive function predicts quantity or quality of coping with symptoms in people with a diagnosis of schizophrenia. Variation in the realm of emotion regulation and social cognition may be more predictive of coping with psychotic symptoms.


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