The University of California Performance Skills Assessment (UPSA) in schizophrenia
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This study evaluated the University of California Performance-based Skills Assessment (UPSA) in a Canadian outpatient schizophrenia setting. The UPSA was administered to 64 patients with schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder and to 42 nonpsychiatric controls. Patient and control samples did not differ in age, gender composition, first language or country of birth. Patients demonstrated significantly lower performance than healthy participants on 3 of 5 UPSA subscales as well as on a summary index. Moreover, performance varied significantly with patients' support requirements in the community. In contrast, the Household Management and Transportation subscales yielded non-significant group differences and failed to correlate with community support requirements. Examination of score distributions raised the possibility of a ceiling effect that limited the discriminating power of UPSA subscales, thus imposing qualifications on clinical interpretations of this instrument. Performance-based assessment of life skills provides an important new perspective on functional outcome in schizophrenia and serious mental illness. However, psychometric properties, task difficulty and the nature of different mental health settings, populations and communities must be considered in the design and application of these instruments.
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