Project „Social cognition in alcohol use disorder: Profiles of impairment and mechanisms of functional recovery“

Funded by the German Research Foundation (TH 1535/2-1)

Applicant: PD Dr. Patrizia Thoma
Co-Applicants: PD Dr. Boris Suchan, Prof. Dr. Irene Daum
Team Members: Dipl-Psych. Tobias Schmidt (PhD student), Cäcilia Werschmann (Student assistant)


The understanding and management of social interactions represent a central challenge of adaptive everyday functioning. Impairments in this regard and the ensuing interpersonal problems may contribute to the development of alcohol abuse and increase the risk of relapse after a period of successful abstinence. Up to now, little is known about potential changes of social cognition and social functioning, and about the relevant neural correlates, in alcohol-dependent patients. In our research project, which will be carried out in collaboration with the LWL Hospital Bochum, we aim to assess distinct components of empathy and social problem solving skills in newly diagnosed and chronic alcohol dependent patients. Furthermore, we plan to investigate whether impairments of social cognition and social problem solving are predictive of treatment success after one year. Finally, the changes of the behavioural and functional correlates of social cognition in alcohol-dependent patients will be investigated by repeating our assessments after one year.