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Neurocognition and adaptive functioning in a genetic high risk model of schizophrenia

  • A. M. Fiksinski (a1) (a2) (a3), E. J. Breetvelt (a2) (a3), Y. J. Lee (a2), E. Boot (a2) (a3), N. Butcher (a2) (a3), L. Palmer (a3), E. W. C. Chow (a2) (a4), R. S. Kahn (a1) (a5), J. A. S. Vorstman (a1) (a4) (a6) (a7) and A. S. Bassett (a2) (a3) (a4) (a8) (a9)...



Identifying factors that influence the functional outcome is an important goal in schizophrenia research. The 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22q11DS) is a unique genetic model with high risk (20–25%) for schizophrenia. This study aimed to identify potentially targetable domains of neurocognitive functioning associated with functional outcome in adults with 22q11DS.


We used comprehensive neurocognitive test data available for 99 adults with 22q11DS (n = 43 with schizophrenia) and principal component analysis to derive four domains of neurocognition (Verbal Memory, Visual and Logical Memory, Motor Performance, and Executive Performance). We then investigated the association of these neurocognitive domains with adaptive functioning using Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales data and a linear regression model that accounted for the effects of schizophrenia status and overall intellectual level.


The regression model explained 46.8% of the variance in functional outcome (p < 0.0001). Executive Performance was significantly associated with functional outcome (p = 0.048). Age and schizophrenia were also significant factors. The effects of Executive Performance on functioning did not significantly differ between those with and without psychotic illness.


The findings provide the impetus for further studies to examine the potential of directed (early) interventions targeting Executive Performance to improve long-term adaptive functional outcome in individuals with, or at high risk for, schizophrenia. Moreover, the neurocognitive test profiles may benefit caregivers and clinicians by providing insight into the relative strengths and weaknesses of individuals with 22q11DS, with and without psychotic illness.


Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: A. S. Bassett, E-mail:


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