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Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and schizophrenia are neurodevelopmental disorders which share substantial overlap in cognitive deficits during adulthood. However, treatment evaluation in ASD and treatment comparisons across ASD and schizophrenia are limited by a dearth of empirical work establishing the validity of a standard cognitive battery across ASD and schizophrenia. Promisingly, the MATRICS Consensus Cognitive Battery (MCCB) has been validated in schizophrenia and encompasses cognitive domains that are impacted in ASD. Thus, this study aimed to establish MCCB's generalizability from schizophrenia to ASD.
Community-residing adults with schizophrenia (N = 100) and ASD (N = 113) underwent MCCB assessment. Using multigroup confirmatory factor analysis, MCCB's transdiagnostic validity was evaluated by examining whether schizophrenia and ASD demonstrate the same configuration, magnitude, and directionality of relationships within and among measures and their underlying cognitive domains.
Across schizophrenia and ASD, the same subsets of MCCB measures inform three cognitive domains: processing speed, attention/working memory, and learning. Except for group means in category fluency, continuous performance, and spatial span, both groups show vastly comparable factor structures and characteristics.
To our knowledge, this study is the first to establish the validity of a standard cognitive battery in adults with ASD and furthermore the first to establish a cognitive battery's comparability across ASD and schizophrenia. Cognitive domain scores can be compared across new samples using weighted sums of MCCB scores resulting from this study. These findings highlight MCCB's applicability to ASD and support its utility for standardizing treatment evaluation of cognitive outcomes across the autism-schizophrenia spectrum.