Impaired Performance on the Reading the Mind in the Eyes Test in First-Episode Psychosis and Clinical High Risk for Psychosis
- Psychiatry Investig
Although previous studies have reported impaired performance in the reading the mind in the eyes test (RMET), which measures complex emotion recognition abilities, in patients with schizophrenia, reports regarding individuals at clinical high risk (CHR) for psychosis have been inconsistent, mainly due to the interacting confounding effects of general cognitive abilities and age. We compared RMET performances across first-episode psychosis (FEP) patients, CHR individuals, and healthy controls (HCs) while controlling for the effects of both general cognitive abilities and age.
A total of 25 FEP, 41 CHR, and 44 HC subjects matched for age participated in this study. RMET performance scores were compared across the groups using analysis of variance with sex and intelligence quotient as covariates. Exploratory Pearson's correlation analyses were performed to reveal the potential relationships of RMET scores with clinical symptom severity in the FEP and CHR groups.
RMET performance scores were significantly lower among FEP and CHR participants than among HCs. FEP patients and CHR subjects showed comparable RMET performance scores. RMET scores were negatively correlated with Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) positive symptom subscale scores in the FEP patients. No significant correlation was identified between RMET scores and other clinical scale scores.
Impaired RMET performance is present from the risk stage of psychosis, which might be related to positive symptom severity in early psychosis. Longitudinal studies are necessary to confirm the stability of complex emotion recognition impairments and their relationship with social functioning in early psychosis patients.