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The increased use of the MATRICS Consensus Cognitive Battery (MCCB) to investigate cognitive dysfunctions in schizophrenia fostered interest in its sensitivity in the context of family studies. As various measures of the same cognitive domains may have different power to distinguish between unaffected relatives of patients and controls, the relative sensitivity of MCCB tests for relative–control differences has to be established. We compared MCCB scores of 852 outpatients with schizophrenia (SCZ) with those of 342 unaffected relatives (REL) and a normative Italian sample of 774 healthy subjects (HCS). We examined familial aggregation of cognitive impairment by investigating within-family prediction of MCCB scores based on probands’ scores.
Multivariate analysis of variance was used to analyze group differences in adjusted MCCB scores. Weighted least-squares analysis was used to investigate whether probands’ MCCB scores predicted REL neurocognitive performance.
SCZ were significantly impaired on all MCCB domains. REL had intermediate scores between SCZ and HCS, showing a similar pattern of impairment, except for social cognition. Proband's scores significantly predicted REL MCCB scores on all domains except for visual learning.
In a large sample of stable patients with schizophrenia, living in the community, and in their unaffected relatives, MCCB demonstrated sensitivity to cognitive deficits in both groups. Our findings of significant within-family prediction of MCCB scores might reflect disease-related genetic or environmental factors.
Measures of social cognition are increasingly being applied to psychopathology, including studies of schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders. Tests of social cognition present unique challenges for international adaptations. The Mayer–Salovey–Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test, Managing Emotions Branch (MSCEIT-ME) is a commonly-used social cognition test that involves the evaluation of social scenarios presented in vignettes.
This paper presents evaluations of translations of this test in six different languages based on representative samples from the relevant countries. The goal was to identify items from the MSCEIT-ME that show different response patterns across countries using indices of discrepancy and content validity criteria. An international version of the MSCEIT-ME scoring was developed that excludes items that showed undesirable properties across countries.
We then confirmed that this new version had better performance (i.e. less discrepancy across regions) in international samples than the version based on the original norms. Additionally, it provides scores that are comparable to ratings based on local norms.
This paper shows that it is possible to adapt complex social cognitive tasks so they can provide valid data across different cultural contexts.
The number of separable cognitive dimensions in schizophrenia has been debated. Guided by the extant factor analytic literature, the NIMH Measurement and Treatment Research to Improve Cognition in Schizophrenia (MATRICS) initiative selected seven cognitive domains relevant to treatment studies in schizophrenia: speed of processing, attention/vigilance, working memory, verbal learning, visual learning, reasoning and problem solving, and social cognition. These domains are assessed in the MATRICS Consensus Cognitive Battery (MCCB). The aim of this study was to conduct a confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) of the beta battery of the MCCB to compare the fit of the MATRICS consensus seven-domain model to other models in the current literature on cognition in schizophrenia.
Using data from 281 schizophrenia outpatients, we compared the seven correlated factors model with alternative models. Specifically, we compared the 7-factor model to (a) a single-factor model, (b) a three correlated factors model including speed of processing, working memory, and general cognition, and (c) a hierarchical model in which seven first-order factors loaded onto a second-order general cognitive factor.
Multiple fit indices indicated the seven correlated factors model was the best fit for the data and provided significant improvement in model fit beyond the comparison models.
These results support the assessment of these seven cognitive dimensions in clinical trials of interventions to improve cognition in schizophrenia. Because these cognitive factors are separable to some degree, it is plausible that specific interventions may have differential effects on the domains.
Numerous studies have reported links between theory of mind (ToM) deficits, neurocognition and negative symptoms with functional outcome in chronic schizophrenia patients. Although the ToM deficit has been observed in first-episode patients, fewer studies have addressed ToM as a possible trait marker, neurocognitive and symptom correlations longitudinally, and associations with later functioning.
Recent-onset schizophrenia patients (n = 77) were assessed at baseline after reaching medication stabilization, and again at 6 months (n = 48). Healthy controls (n = 21) were screened, and demographically comparable with the patients. ToM was assessed with a Social Animations Task (SAT), in which the participants’ descriptions of scenes depicting abstract visual stimuli ‘interacting’ in three conditions (ToM, goal directed and random) were rated for degree of intentionality attributed to the figures and for appropriateness. Neurocognition, symptoms and role functioning were also assessed.
On the SAT, patients had lower scores than controls for both intentionality (p < 0.01) and appropriateness (p < 0.01) during the ToM condition, at baseline and 6 months. The ToM deficit was stable and present even in remitted patients. Analyses at baseline and 6 months indicated that for patients, ToM intentionality and appropriateness were significantly correlated with neurocognition, negative symptoms and role functioning. The relationship between ToM and role functioning was mediated by negative symptoms.
The ToM deficit was found in recent-onset schizophrenia patients and appears to be moderately trait-like. ToM is also moderately correlated with neurocognition, negative and positive symptoms, and role functioning. ToM appears to influence negative symptoms which in turn makes an impact on role functioning.
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