Cross-national cognitive assessment in schizophrenia clinical trials: A feasibility study

Philip D. Harvey, Lidia Artiola I Fortuny, Estelle Vester-Blockland, Goedele De Smedt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Clinical trials for the treatment of schizophrenia now often include cognitive assessments in addition to clinical ratings of symptoms. Recently, these trials have included cross-national assessments. It is not clear if translated psychological tests produce consistent results across different languages. This paper presents the results of a study of the comparability of the results of cognitive assessments in different English-speaking countries and a number of countries where tests were translated into other languages. Performance on tests of executive functioning, verbal and visuo-spatial learning and memory, language skills, psychomotor speed, and vigilance was compared across the first episode patients with schizophrenia (n=301) assessed in six different languages (English, French, Finnish, German, Hebrew, and Afrikaans), including two different countries where patients were assessed in English and other languages: Canada (French) and South Africa (Afrikaans). The variance in performance across the sites tested in English was as large as the variance between English and non-English speakers when all tests were considered. Performance differences across English and other languages were found only for executive functions, vigilance, and psychomotor speed, with executive functioning differences nonsignificant when education was considered. No differences were found between English and non-English speakers in Canada. These results suggest that the translation of tests of memory and verbal skills can lead to consistent results across translated versions of the tests. Differences between countries were greater than differences between languages, suggesting the need to consider representativeness of patient samples in terms of local educational attainment. In general, these data support the validity of cross-national neuropsychological assessments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)243-251
Number of pages9
JournalSchizophrenia Research
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Clinical trials
  • Cross-national cognitive assessment
  • Schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Neurology
  • Psychology(all)


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