Superior mentalizing abilities of female patients with schizophrenia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mentalizing abilities are severely disrupted in patients with schizophrenia, but gender-related differences in this domain are virtually unexplored. Given the importance of these abilities in understanding psychopathology, social functioning and outcome, this study aimed to examine the mentalizing abilities of male and female patients with schizophrenia. The cognitive and affective mentalizing abilities of self and other of clinically stable male and female patients with schizophrenia were analyzed using the abbreviated version of the Metacognitive Assessment Scale (MAS-A). Compared to their male counterparts, the female patients demonstrated superior overall mentalizing abilities. This advantage was also evident when mentalizing about the Self or the Other. When examining cognitive versus affective mentalizing, women were significantly better in their ability to attribute and understand the affective mental states of others. These differences were unrelated to intelligence or psychopathology. The superior mentalizing abilities of female patients extend gender-related differences in schizophrenia to include social cognition. This suggests that our current knowledge of socio-cognitive abilities in schizophrenia is generalizable to male but not to female patients. The findings also provide important insights to understanding how etiological differences affect social cognition. Awareness to such differences has important implications for diagnosis and clinical treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)794-799
Number of pages6
JournalPsychiatry Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 30 Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Gender
  • Mentalizing
  • Metacognition
  • Schizophrenia
  • Sex differences
  • Social cognition
  • Theory of mind

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


Dive into the research topics of 'Superior mentalizing abilities of female patients with schizophrenia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this