The role of executive functions, social cognition and intelligence in predicting social adaptation of vulnerable populations
Sci Rep. 2022 Nov 4;12(1):18693. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-21985-9.
This study sought to evaluate the roles of and interactions between cognitive processes that have been shown to exhibit impact from socioeconomic status (SES) and living conditions in predicting social adaptation (SA) in a population of adults living in socially vulnerable conditions. Participants included 226 people between the ages of 18 and 60 who have been living in vulnerable contexts throughout life in Santiago, Chile. Data was collected through a battery of psychological assessments. A structural equation model (SEM) was implemented to examine the interrelationships among cognitive and social variables. Results indicate a significant relationship between executive function (EF) and SA through both social cognition (SC) and intelligence. Theory of Mind (ToM), a component of SC, was shown to exhibit a significant relationship with affective empathy; interestingly, this was negatively related to SA. Moreover, fluid intelligence (FI) was found to exhibit a positive, indirect relationship with SA through crystallized intelligence (CI). Evaluation of these results in the context of research on the impacts of SES and vulnerable living conditions on psychological function may allow for the development of more effective clinical, political, and social interventions to support psychosocial health among socially vulnerable populations.