Project 'TRANS-NEURO': Neuropsychological performance in social cognition and emotional response of patiens with drug related disorders in treatment in a therapuetic community/day unity


Introduction: Emotion perception (EP), is a domain of Social Cognition and that can be defined as the ability to decode, recognize and identify emotional expressions (Edwards, Jackson & Pattison, 2002). Emotional facial expressions decoding skills is essential for normal human social and emotional interaction, playing a key role in interpersonal relationships. Decoding errors have been described in several pathological conditions, including in substance dependent individuals (SDI) that seem to be associated with social and clinical aspects.

Aim: The main objective of this investigation was to study the facial expressions recognition and discrimination performance in a sample of SDI, in abstinence, on treatment in a therapeutic community and day unity.

Methods: Thirty one participants , 24 men and 7 women, were recruited in the Therapeutic Community and a Day Unity of “Ponte da Pedra” of DICAD/ARS Norte, I.P., Portugal, selected by the convenience method and that fulfill the inclusion and exclusion criteria. Was used the Facial Emotion Identification Test (FEIT) and the Facial Discrimination Test (FEDT). This preliminary study is part of a project that was approved by the Ethical Committee of ARS Norte on October 03, 2017 (Legal Opinion N.º 128/2017) and make part of a cross-border research with Galiza, Spain.

Results: SDI performed worst in FEIT (M= 10; SD= 2,3) than in FEDT (M= 22,9;SD= 2,7). The results show a greater deficit in the identification of emotions, in which happiness (M=31; SD=0), surprise (M=22; SD= 5,7) and sadness (M=19,3; SD=3,2) were the emotions easier to recognize, while shame (M=6,5; SD= 6,4), fear (M=12,5; SD = 2,5) and anger (M=13,3; SD= 5,0) were the most difficult.

Conclusions:  This research showed the relevance of the recognition of facial expression in drug addicts, contributing to the understanding of how they recognize, identify and discriminate emotions, and their difficulties in these processes.

The results demonstrate that SDI are generally impaired in their ability to accurately identify and discriminate facial expressions and consubstantiate the need for intervention at the emotional response perceptual level.

This investigation allowed identifying deficits through these results, that lead us to think that such deficits may have functional significance and could be related with inappropriate social response, decreased social skills, and decreased sense of social efficacy. On the other hand, these deficits can be linked to the clinical functioning of SDI that which should be understood by technicians who work with populations, in order to promote more appropriate intervention in the treatment of drug addiction. It is necessary to develop rehabilitation strategies, techniques and programs that help identify, recognize and discriminate emotions in SDI, so that they can better deal with them and consequently enhance their clinical and social functioning


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EP757_Susana Cardoso.pdf19.95 MBDownload


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