Background. Identifying endophenotypes of schizophrenia will assist in the identification of individuals who are at heightened risk for the disorder. Investigators have proposed antisaccade task deficits as an endophenotypic marker of schizophrenia. However, the diagnostic specificity and the temporal stability of the task deficit are unresolved issues. To date, there are few published reports of test–retest stability of antisaccade task performance in psychiatric patients.
Method. Twenty-three schizophrenia out-patients and 10 bipolar out-patients were administered two saccadic (antisaccade and refixation) tasks at two separate assessments, with an average test–retest interval of 33 months.
Results. The schizophrenia patients displayed high test–retest reliabilities of antisaccade task accuracy, despite changes in medication and clinical status. Additionally, the schizophrenia group's saccadic reaction times for antisaccade correct responses and task errors were moderately stable over time. In contrast, the bipolar patients did not show temporal stability in their antisaccade task accuracy or in their response latencies to either correct or incorrect antisaccade responses.
Conclusions. The results are supportive of the trait-like characteristics of antisaccade task deficits in schizophrenia patients. These findings also suggest that antisaccade task deficits may serve as an endophenotypic marker of schizophrenia.