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The current study examined the pattern of neurocognitive impairments in a community-recruited sample of clinical high-risk (CHR) participants and established relationships with psychosocial functioning.
CHR-participants (n = 108), participants who did not fulfil CHR-criteria (CHR-negatives) (n = 42) as well as a group of healthy controls (HCs) (n = 55) were recruited. CHR-status was assessed using the Comprehensive Assessment of At-Risk Mental States (CAARMS) and the Schizophrenia Proneness Instrument, Adult Version (SPI-A). The Brief Assessment of Cognition in Schizophrenia Battery (BACS) as well as tests for emotion recognition, working memory and attention were administered. In addition, role and social functioning as well as premorbid adjustment were assessed.
CHR-participants were significantly impaired on the Symbol-Coding and Token-Motor task and showed a reduction in total BACS-scores. Moreover, CHR-participants were characterised by prolonged response times (RTs) in emotion recognition as well as by reductions in both social and role functioning, GAF and premorbid adjustments compared with HCs. Neurocognitive impairments in emotion recognition accuracy, emotion recognition RT, processing speed and motor speed were associated with several aspects of functioning explaining between 4% and 12% of the variance.
The current data obtained from a community sample of CHR-participants highlight the importance of dysfunctions in motor and processing speed and emotion recognition RT. Moreover, these deficits were found to be related to global, social and role functioning, suggesting that neurocognitive impairments are an important aspect of sub-threshold psychotic experiences and a possible target for therapeutic interventions.
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