We previously noted increased shyness in stable community outpatients with schizophrenia compared to healthy controls and that shyness may be a risk factor for social functioning impairment in this population (Goldberg & Schmidt, 2001).
We attempted to replicate and extend these findings by comparing the use of a brief trait measure of shyness and sociability (SS; Cheek, 1983; Cheek & Buss, 1981) with the longer Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI; Cloninger, Przybeck, Svrakic, & Wetzel, 1994) used traditionally in work to measure personality dimensions in this population.
A group of stable outpatients with schizophrenia ( n = 41) and healthy controls ( n = 41) matched on age and gender were compared on the SS and TCI measures. Patients were assessed on clinical symptoms using the Positive and Negative Symptom Scale (PANSS) and on social functioning measures using a Quality of Life Scale (QLS).
Patients reported significantly higher shyness, retrospective inhibition and harm avoidance, and lower novelty seeking, self-directedness and cooperativeness than healthy adults, replicating previous findings. Shyness and sociability were related to conceptually linked dimensional sub-scales of the TCI and were predictive of social functioning in the patient group. Importantly, scores on these measures were unrelated to symptom profiles and explained additional variance in social functioning beyond clinical symptoms.
These findings suggest that individual differences in trait shyness and sociability may influence social functioning in stable outpatients with schizophrenia. The results also support the use of the brief trait measures of shyness and sociability in this population.