A Systematic Review of the Current Measures of Theory of Mind in Adults with Schizophrenia

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Jul 4;18(13):7172. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18137172.


Adults with schizophrenia usually have impairments in theory of mind (ToM), which subsequently cause them problems in social interaction. Therefore, it is important for healthcare providers to assess their ToM using adequate measures. This systematic review evaluated current ToM measures (or ToM tasks) for adults with schizophrenia and summarized their specific characteristics, including the concept and construct, administration, and psychometric properties. From a review of 117 articles, 13 types of ToM tasks were identified, and the findings from these articles were qualitatively synthesized. The results showed that ToM tasks are diverse in their presentation modalities, answer modes, strategies of controlling cognitive confounders, and scoring. Most tasks employ cognitive and affective dimensions and target a specific, single ToM concept. The present systematic review found that psychometric evidence supporting the ToM tasks, such as internal consistency, test-retest reliability, unidimensionality, and convergent, criterion, and ecological validities, is insufficient. Based on the results, we propose several principles for selecting appropriate ToM tasks in practice, e.g., selecting a task with multiple ToM concepts, or an exclusive ToM construct containing the cognitive and affective dimensions. Moreover, future studies are needed to provide more psychometric evidence on each type of ToM task applied in people with schizophrenia.

PMID:34281109 | DOI:10.3390/ijerph18137172

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