Symptoms, cognitive functioning, and adaptive skills in geriatric patients with lifelong schizophrenia: A comparison across treatment sites

Philip D. Harvey, Evelyn Howanitz, Michael Parrella, Leonard White, Michael Davidson, Richard C. Mohs, Jennifer Hoblyn, Kenneth L. Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

292 Scopus citations


Objective: Although many geriatric patients with schizophrenia have been referred to nursing home care, little is known about their characteristics. Across nursing home and chronic hospital settings, the authors directly assessed poor outcome geriatric patients with schizophrenia and contrasted their cognitive, symptomatic, and adaptive functioning to that of acutely admitted patients with a better outcome over the lifetime course of the illness. Method: The subjects were 97 chronically hospitalized patients with schizophrenia, 37 patients with chronic schizophrenia who lived in nursing homes, and 31 acutely admitted geriatric patients with schizophrenia. These patients were rated with the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale, tested with a neuropsychological battery, evaluated with the Mini-Mental State examination, and rated on a scale of social and adaptive deficits, the Social Adaptive Functioning Evaluation scale. Results: Each group of patients proved discriminable from the other two: nursing home patients displayed the most severe adaptive deficits, and acutely admitted patients were the least cognitively impaired. Cognitive impairment was the strongest predictor of adaptive deficits for all three groups, and negative symptom differences among the groups were smaller than differences in cognitive impairment. Nursing home patients had the least severe positive symptoms, and the acutely ill and chronic hospital patients did not differ on positive symptoms. Conclusions: Cognitive impairment is a predictor of both overall outcome and specific adaptive deficits. These data suggest that interventions aimed at cognitive impairment may have an impact on overall functional status. In comparison, positive symptom severity is less strongly correlated with overall adaptive outcome and is uncorrelated with specific deficits in adaptive skills.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1080-1086
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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