Development and Psychopathology

Regular Articles

Reciprocal social behavior in youths with psychotic illness and those at clinical high risk

Maria Jalbrzikowskia1, Kate E. Krasilevaa1, Sarah Marvina1, Jamie Zinberga1, Angielette Andayaa1, Peter Bachmana1, Tyrone D. Cannona1 and Carrie E. Beardena1 c1

a1 University of California, Los Angeles


Youths at clinical high risk (CHR) for psychosis typically exhibit significant social dysfunction. However, the specific social behaviors associated with psychosis risk have not been well characterized. We administer the Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS), a measure of autistic traits that examines reciprocal social behavior, to the parents of 117 adolescents (61 CHR individuals, 20 age-matched adolescents with a psychotic disorder [AOP], and 36 healthy controls) participating in a longitudinal study of psychosis risk. AOP and CHR individuals have significantly elevated SRS scores relative to healthy controls, indicating more severe social deficits. Mean scores for AOP and CHR youths are typical of scores obtained in individuals with high functioning autism (Constantino & Gruber, 2005). SRS scores are significantly associated with concurrent real-world social functioning in both clinical groups. Finally, baseline SRS scores significantly predict social functioning at follow-up (an average of 7.2 months later) in CHR individuals, over and above baseline social functioning measures (p < .009). These findings provide novel information regarding impairments in domains critical for adolescent social development, because CHR individuals and those with overt psychosis show marked deficits in reciprocal social behavior. Further, the SRS predicts subsequent real-world social functioning in CHR youth, suggesting that this measure may be useful for identifying targets of treatment in psychosocial interventions.


c1 Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Carrie E. Bearden, Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, Box 956968, 300 Medical Plaza, Room 2267, Los Angeles, CA 90095-6968; E-mail:


  Funding for this study was provided by a Maxine and Jack Zarrow Investigator Award (NARSAD Young Investigator Award to C.E.B.); National Institute of Mental Health Grants K23MH74644 (to C.E.B.), MH65079 (to T.D.C.), and NIMH P50 MH066286 (to T.D.C. and C.E.B.); the UCLA Graduate Summer Research Mentorship Program (to M.J.); and donations from the International Mental Health Research Organization and the Staglin Music Festival for Mental Health to the University of California, Los Angeles, Foundation.