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Thirty-Third Annual Meeting of the Society for Research in Psychopathology

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39. Independent Contributions of Child Maltreatment and Schizotypy on Social Cognition and Interpersonal Functioning

Background: Past studies have documented impairments in theory of mind (ToM) and interpersonal functioning among individuals with schizotypal traits. Psychosocial and social-cognitive deficits have also been documented among individuals with histories of child maltreatment (CM), and there have been significant associations between CM and schizotypal symptoms. However, relatively little is known about the interrelationships between these variables. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to examine associations between these variables, as well as the independent contribution of CM on ToM and peer relationships after accounting for the variance explained by schizotypy. Methods: College students (N=165) completed two measures of ToM: The Cognitive and Emotional Perspective-Taking Task (CEPTT) and the Mind-in-the-Eyes Task (MET), along with the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ), the peer subtest of the Inventory of Parent and Peer Attachment (IPPA), and the Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire (SPQ). Results: As expected, CM, schizotypy, ToM, and peer functioning were all significantly correlated. A series of three hierarchical linear regression analyses were performed for each ToM task (MET, CEPTT) and the peer functioning measure (IPPA) to explore the unique and interactive contributions of CM and SPQ scores on ToM and psychosocial ability. For all three analyses, SPQ score significantly contributed to each model at step one. At step two, the addition of the MET, CEPTT, and IPPA respectively resulted in a significant change in R2, and the initially significant impact of schizotypy disappeared with only CM remaining as a significant predictor. Results for all three models remained significant after controlling for gender and Verbal IQ. Conclusions: CM is associated with symptoms of schizotypy, and poor mentalizing and psychosocial ability. In addition, schizotypy did not contribute to explaining variance in ToM and psychosocial functioning over and above that accounted for by CM. These findings indicate that CM is an important factor to consider when examining the relationships between symptoms of psychosis and social-cognitive and psychosocial impairments.

Victoria Popov
Rochester Institute of Technology

Lindsay Schenkel
Rochester Institute of Technology


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