Objective: The study compared the neuropsychological functioning of patients with first-admission schizophrenia with that of patients with first-admission psychotic affective disorders. Method: Data came from the Suffolk County Mental Health Project, an epidemiological study of first-admission psychotic disorders. Subjects with a diagnosis of schizophrenia (N=102) and psychotic affective disorders, including bipolar disorder with psychotic features (N=72) and major depressive disorder with psychotic features (N=49), were compared on a battery of neuropsychological tests administered 2 years after the index admission. Results: Subjects with schizophrenia performed worse than those with the psychotic affective disorders, even after adjusting the results for differences in demographic characteristics and general intellectual functioning. The most consistent differences were on tests of attention, concentration, and mental tracking. The two psychotic affective disorder groups were indistinguishable in performance on the neuropsychological tests. Conclusions: Even early in its course, schizophrenia is distinguishable from psychotic affective disorders by global and specific neuropsychological deficits. These deficits might contribute to the disability and poor outcome associated with schizophrenia in the mid- and long-term course.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health