A systematic review of the impact of social cognitive deficits on psychosocial functioning in major depressive disorder and opportunities for therapeutic intervention

Michael James Weightman, Matthew James Knight, Bernhard Theodor Baune

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Social cognition is the ability to identify, perceive and interpret socially relevant information from the external world. It is an important adaptive trait, but is frequently affected in major depressive disorder by a mood-congruent interpretive bias. The present review examined the existing body of literature to determine (i) the impact social cognitive deficits in depression have on psychosocial functioning; and (ii) the utility of psychotropic, psychological and procedural interventions employed to target these deficits. A total of 107 studies met inclusion criteria for review. Social cognitive performance was found to adversely impact depressed patients’ psychosocial functioning across the key domains of general cognitive functioning and quality of life. Secondly, many current therapies were found to have a normalising effect on the social cognitive abilities of subjects with major depressive disorder, both at a neural and functional level. In particular, certain anti-depressant medications corrected facial affect recognition deficits, while several psychotherapeutic approaches improved impairments in theory of mind and negative interpretive bias.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-212
Number of pages18
JournalPsychiatry Research
Volume274
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Anti-depressant
  • Depression
  • Facial affect
  • Psychosocial function
  • Psychotherapy
  • Social cognition
  • Theory of mind
  • Treatment

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