OBJECTIVE. The purpose of this study was to compare learning of a functional living skill in two contexts for individuals with long-term schizophrenia.
METHOD. Forty-four people with schizophrenia were matched on cognitive level. One of each pair was randomly designated to either a clinic or home cooking group, with the other assigned to the remaining group. Cooking skill was assessed using the Kitchen Task Assessment-Modified (KTA-M) both before and after the intervention. Learning for each group was analyzed using t tests. A multiple regression analysis to control for baseline differences was used to compare the learning of the two groups.
RESULTS. Participants in both groups scored significantly higher on the KTA-M after cooking lessons (t = 5.57, df = 21, p < .0001—clinic; t = 7.81. df = 21, p < .0002—home) reflecting learning of cooking skill; there was no statistically significant difference in scores on the KTA-M between the two groups based on where the learning took place (β = −1.8, df = 42, p < 0.23). Qualitative differences between the learning environments provide suggestions for teaching functional living skills to this population.
CONCLUSIONS. Learning new skills in the home was not better than learning in the clinic for people with schizophrenia in this study. Further research on the effect of context on learning for people with cognitive dysfunction and schizophrenia is recommended.