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162. Social Isolation and Social Engagement in Schizotypy
Social isolation is a characterizing feature of schizophrenia spectrum disorders, and is thought to predate onset. However, social isolation is difficult to measure in a laboratory setting. The present study seeks to measure real-world social isolation and engagement in those with schizotypy, a group at an increased risk of developing psychological and psychiatric disorders. Using the Electronically Activated Recorder (EAR), we compared schizotypy (n = 34) and non-schizotypy (n = 34) groups on: a) the frequency of social interactions, and b) who those interactions were with (e.g., friend or family member). Surprisingly, we found that group status did not predict interaction frequency. There were also no group differences in who participants interacted with, although there was a trend for greater self-talk in schizotypy. These findings are not in line with previous research, and present a puzzling picture of the day to day life of those with schizotypy status. Previous studies from our team have demonstrated that real-world social behaviors are reduced in those with schizotypy whenever engagement is required. Findings here may indicate that group differences only occur when complex social behaviors are necessary and that groups do not differ when less complex social behavior is measured.