Stability and change in symptoms, cognition, and community outcome in schizophrenia
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It has been well established that neurocognitive deficits are a core feature in schizophrenia and predict difficulties in functional independence. However, few studies have assessed the longitudinal stability of cognition and key aspects of functional outcome concurrently. Even less attention has been directed at the contingency of cognitive change on real world outcome changes. Accordingly, this study will assess the extent to which significant changes in cognition and community status are independent or related. As a point of comparison, the stability of clinical symptom status and the relationship between symptom and outcome change are evaluated. Symptoms, cognitive abilities, and community outcome was assessed in 128 patients with schizophrenia at baseline and again one year later. Intraclass correlation coefficients were used to index stability and reliable change index analyses quantified the prevalence of significant improvement or deterioration in each of the three illness features. Results from these analyses revealed that symptom status, cognitive functioning, and community outcome are similarly stable in treated schizophrenia outpatients. A small proportion of the sample demonstrated significant improvement or deterioration in these domains, with only weak evidence that such change was predicted by changes in symptoms or cognition. Further, there was no strong evidence of a preferential relationship for cognition relative to symptoms in relation to functional outcome. These results shed light on the strength and nature of the cognition-real world outcome relationship in schizophrenia and have implications for pharmacological and behavioral interventions aimed at improving real world outcome.