General and domain-specific neurocognitive impairments in deficit and non-deficit schizophrenia

János M. Réthelyi, Pál Czobor, Patrícia Polgár, Beatrix Mersich, Sára Bálint, Éva Jekkel, Magyar Krisztina Magyar, Ágnes Mészáros, Ágnes Fábián, István Bitter

Research output: Article

24 Citations (Scopus)


Earlier studies suggested more severe overall cognitive impairments in deficit versus non-deficit schizophrenia; however, the specific contribution of different cognitive domains to this overall cognitive impairment remains unclear. The purpose of this study was to compare the two subtypes in general cognitive functioning as well as in individual cognitive domains using the composite score approach. One hundred and forty-three patients fulfilling the criteria for the deficit syndrome were compared with 123 patients diagnosed with non-deficit schizophrenia. Neurocognitive functioning was assessed by a neuropsychological test battery measuring the domains of sustained vigilance/attention, working memory, short-term memory, verbal memory, cognitive flexibility, and ideation fluency. Using the raw neuropsychological measures, we calculated a global index of cognitive impairment and domain-specific composite z-scores. Association between these composite scores and the deficit syndrome was examined by logistic regression analysis. After adjusting for relevant covariates including sex, age, education, smoking, and antipsychotic dose, results indicated a significant increase in the likelihood of deficit syndrome as a function of global (OR = 5.40; 95% CI 3.02-9.65) as well as domain-specific impairments (OR[2 for all individual domains except for short-term memory). Cognitive flexibility was an independent predictor (OR = 2.92; 95% CI 1.47-5.80), whereas other cognitive domains demonstrated no unique contribution to the general cognitive impairment. Patients with deficit schizophrenia suffer from a more severe degree of neurocognitive impairment, which is qualitatively similar to the dysfunction seen in non-deficit schizophrenia. However, our results indicate that cognitive flexibility is specifically impaired in deficit versus non-deficit patients and may therefore represent a core feature of this subtype.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-115
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean archives of psychiatry and clinical neuroscience
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - márc. 1 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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