Self-efficacy (belief in one’s ability to complete activities or manage symptoms) is often poor in people with schizophrenia. Low self-efficacy is associated with negative symptoms and neurocognition which, together, may worsen psychosocial functioning. This study explores causal patterns between these variables by assessing their temporal associations and their combined role in predicting functioning using cross-sectional and longitudinal data.
This study is a secondary analysis of data from 103 older adults with schizophrenia-spectrum disorders engaged in a randomized controlled trial (Helping Older People Experience Success or Treatment As Usual). Cross-sectional and longitudinal measures included neurocognition, positive and negative symptoms, self-efficacy, and three measures of functioning (Independent Living Skills Survey [ILSS], The Multnomah Community Ability Scale (MCAS), University of California, San Diego Performance-Based Skills Assessment [UPSA]).
Self-efficacy was associated with self-reported functional skills (ILSS) only. The impact of self-efficacy on functioning was partially mediated by negative symptoms. This mediation was also present when predicting functioning at one year, unaffected when depression and positive symptoms were controlled.
This study suggests direct and indirect effects of self-efficacy, via negative symptoms, on functioning in older adults with schizophrenia. Self-efficacy and negative symptoms should be intervention targets to improve functional difficulties in older adults with schizophrenia.