The Validity and Comparison of Two Affiliation Tasks in Schizophrenia

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Negative symptoms are related to worse psychosocial functioning in schizophrenia. The current study evaluates two behavioral affiliation tasks—the video-based Social Affiliation Interaction Task (SAIT) and the in-vivo Conversation Task (CT)—and explores whether behavioral ratings of social affiliation are associated with negative symptoms and community functioning. Participants, 20 with schizophrenia/schizoaffective disorder (SZ) and 35 healthy controls (HC), completed both tasks and measures of negative symptoms and functioning. SZ evidenced lower behavioral affiliation on the SAIT compared to HC. There were no group differences in behavioral affiliation on the CT. Within groups, behavioral affiliation was not correlated between tasks or with symptoms and functioning. Across groups, behavioral affiliation from the SAIT was correlated with symptoms and functioning. Post hoc analyses revealed higher ratings of positive facial expression and valence in the CT for HC compared to SZ. Results suggest that the method of assessing behavioral affiliaton may influence research findings.