Background: Chronically institutionalized patients with schizophrenia have been reported to manifest cognitive and functional decline. Previous studies were limited by the fact that current environment could not be separated from lifetime illness course. The present study examined older outpatients who varied in their lifetime history of long-term psychiatric inpatient stay. Methods: Community-dwelling patients with schizophrenia (n = 111) and healthy comparison subjects (n = 76) were followed up to 45 months and examined two or more times with a neuropsychological battery and performance-based measures of everyday living skills (University of California San Diego Performance-Based Skills Assessment Battery [UPSA]) and social competence. A mixed-effects model repeated-measures method was used to examine changes. Results: There was a significant effect of institutional stay on the course of the UPSA. When the schizophrenia patients who completed all three assessments were divided on the basis of length of institutional stay and compared with healthy comparison subjects, patients with longer stays worsened on the UPSA and social competence, while patients with shorter stays improved. For neuropsychological performance, both patient samples worsened slightly, while the healthy comparison group manifested a practice effect. Reliable change index analyses showed that worsening on the UPSA for longer stay patients was definitely nonrandom. Conclusions: Lifetime history of institutional stay was associated with worsening on measures of social and everyday living skills. Neuropsychological performance in schizophrenia did not evidence the practice effect seen in the healthy comparison sample. These data suggest that schizophrenia patients with a history of long institutional stay may worsen even if they are no longer institutionalized.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biological Psychiatry