Social Skills Training

  • Randall L. Morrison
  • John T. Wixted


Social dysfunction has been recognized as a key feature of schizophrenia since the disorder was first described. Deterioration of social relations is among the current defining diagnostic criteria specified in DSM-III-R (American Psychiatric Association, 1987), and social isolation or withdrawal and marked impairment in major role functioning are listed as predominant prodromal and residual symptoms. Although psychotic symptomatology may be the most salient and disturbing feature of schizophrenia, the importance of interpersonal dysfunction cannot be overemphasized. Evidence from several large-scale investigations indicates that poor premorbid functioning, especially in the area of social relationships, is prognostic of poor long-term outcome (Strauss, Klorman, & Kokes, 1977; Zigler & Phillips, 1961, 1962). Even when gross psychotic symptoms are pharmacologically controlled or in remission, schizophrenics can be expected to have marked difficulties in social interactions (Serban, 1975; Strauss, Carpenter, & Bartko, 1974). Because of these difficulties, schizophrenics frequently fail to become integrated into a natural social network that can assist them in coping with social demands and other life Stressors (Gleser & Gottschalk, 1967; Marcella & Snyder, 1981; McClelland & Walt, 1968). Often, the schizophrenic’s family is the only network to which he or she belongs. However, the interactional pattern of families of schizophrenics is frequently deviant and may provide additional stress, which the patient lacks the appropriate interpersonal skills to resolve. In fact, studies have consistently found that schizophrenics whose family relationships are characterized by hostile interactions are particularly likely to be rehospitalized within 9 months of discharge (Brown, Birley, & Wing, 1972; Vaughn & Leff, 1976).


Social Skill Negative Symptom Schizophrenic Patient Social Skill Training Skill Deficit 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Randall L. Morrison
    • 1
  • John T. Wixted
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryMedical College of Pennsylvania at EPPIPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of CaliforniaSan Diego, La JollaUSA

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