Factor structure of neurocognition and functional capacity in schizophrenia: A multidimensional examination of temporal stability

Philip D. Harvey, Tenko Raykov, Elizabeth W. Twamley, Lea Vella, Robert K. Heaton, Thomas L. Patterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Although neurocognition is commonly described in terms of different functional domains, some factor analytic studies have suggested a simpler dimensional structure for neuropsychological (NP) tests in patients with schizophrenia. Standardized tasks of everyday functioning, or tests of functional capacity (FC), are viewed differently from traditional NP tests, and are hence used as a co-primary measure in treatment studies. However, FC and NP tests have been found to be highly correlated. In fact, a recent study of ours suggested that performances on these different types of tasks constituted a single latent trait in a cross-sectional analysis. The current study examined the longitudinal factor structure of a combined set of NP and FC tests. Patients with schizophrenia (n = 195) were examined at two assessment occasions separated by periods ranging from 6 weeks to 6 months. Participants were assessed with the MATRICS Consensus Cognitive Battery (MCCB) and two performance-based assessments of FC. A single latent trait was extracted using full information maximum likelihood procedures, and its temporal stability was examined in terms of: stability of the latent trait scores, the inter-correlations of the three indicators of the latent trait, and the stability of loadings for the FC and NP items underlying the latent trait at the two measurement occasions. All indices of temporal stability were confirmed, with stability not related to follow-up duration. Variation in clinical symptoms and treatments across the measurement occasions was negligible. These findings raise the question of whether cognitive abilities measured by NP tests and FC instruments are tapping a single ability construct, which might have shared causal influences as well.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)656-663
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the International Neuropsychological Society
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jul 2013


  • Disability
  • Functional capacity
  • Latent traits
  • Linear models
  • Longitudinal studies
  • Neuropsychology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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