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21-03-2013 | Mental health | Article

Brief scale reliably assesses functioning in teens with schizophrenia

Abstract

Free abstract

medwireNews: Researchers have identified the Life Skills Profile (LSP) as a brief, reliable scale for assessing real-world functioning in adolescents with early-onset schizophrenia (EOS).

Functional deficits are one of the most important factors in the disability associated with schizophrenia, with better social and role functioning consistently identified as important treatment goals by both patients and families.

Lead researcher O Puig (Hospital Clinic Universitari, Barcelona, Spain) and colleagues say that few short and reliable instruments for assessing real-world functioning have been specifically validated in EOS. They add: "While symptom control is an important treatment outcome, treatments that enhance social and role functioning are especially needed."

Their study, published in Schizophrenia Research, reviewed the validity of the LSP for assessing daily living skills in 53 clinically and pharmacologically stabilized adolescent patients with EOS (diagnosis of schizophrenia in 79.2% and schizoaffective disorder in 20.8%) relative to 53 healthy control individuals.

Patients in the study (aged 12-18 years) had an average disease duration of 3.2 years, with the majority (83%) taking second-generation antipsychotics.

Analysis showed high internal consistency of the LSP total score, and adequate convergent and divergent validity as shown by significant correlations between LSP scores and scores on the Children Global Assessment Scale and Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales.

However, the team cautions that there was low internal consistency in the autonomy subscale of the LSP in patients aged 15 years and younger, and that this may limit the full applicability of the LSP to younger patients.

Analysis of test-retest reliability in a subgroup of 30 patients following a 10-day interval revealed high reliability for the total LSP score, and for all four subscales of self-care, interpersonal behavior, communication-social contact, nonpersonal social behavior, and autonomy.

The LSP was also found to be a sensitive instrument for distinguishing differences in functioning among schizophrenia patients and healthy control individuals, correctly classifying 84% of the study participants.

The authors point out that their findings are only generalizable to stabilized schizophrenia patients with an IQ above 70 and without substance misuse comorbidity.

But they conclude: "The high feasibility of the LSP makes it applicable both in clinical practice and in research settings as a fast assessment of real-world daily living skills in adolescents with EOS."

medwireNews (www.medwirenews.com) is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2013

By Ingrid Grasmo, medwireNews Reporter

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