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PLoS One. 2015 Apr 2;10(4):e0121807. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0121807. eCollection 2015.

Validation of the German Version of the Social Functioning Scale (SFS) for schizophrenia.

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  • 1Cognitive NeuroScience at the Centre for Psychiatry, Justus-Liebig-University, Giessen, Germany.
  • 2Cognitive NeuroScience at the Centre for Psychiatry, Justus-Liebig-University, Giessen, Germany; Bender Institute of Neuroimaging, Justus-Liebig-University, Giessen, Germany.


Deficits in social functioning are a core symptom of schizophrenia and an important criterion for evaluating the success of treatment. However, there is little agreement regarding its measurement. A common, often cited instrument for assessing self-reported social functioning is the Social Functioning Scale (SFS). The study aimed to investigate the reliability and validity of the German translation. 101 patients suffering from schizophrenia (SZ) and 101 matched controls (C) (60 male / 41 female, 35.8 years in both groups) completed the German version. In addition, demographic, clinical, and functional data were collected. Internal consistency was investigated calculating Cronbach's alpha for SFS full scale (α: .81) and all subscales (α: .59-.88). Significant bivariate correlation coefficients were found between all subscales as well as between all subscales and full scale (p <.01). For the total sample, principal component analysis gave evidence to prefer a single-factor solution (eigenvalue ≥ 1) accounting for 48.5 % of the variance. For the subsamples, a two-component solution (SZ; 57.0 %) and a three-component solution (C; 65.6 %) fitted best, respectively. For SZ and C, significant associations were found between SFS and external criteria. The main factor "group" emerged as being significant. C showed higher values on both subscales and full scale. The sensitivity of the SFS was examined using discriminant analysis. 86.5% of the participants could be categorized correctly to their actual group. The German translation of the SFS turned out to be a reliable and valid questionnaire comparable to the original English version. This is in line with Spanish and Norwegian translations of the SFS. Concluding, the German version of the SFS is well suited to become a useful and practicable instrument for the assessment of social functioning in both clinical practice and research. It accomplishes commonly used external assessment scales.

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