Cognitive remediation of working memory deficits: durability of training effects in severely impaired and less severely impaired schizophrenia

Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2003 Aug;108(2):101-9. doi: 10.1034/j.1600-0447.2003.00090.x.


Objective: To determine whether augmenting work therapy (WT) with neurocognitive enhancement therapy (NET) yields greater improvement in working memory performance than WT alone and whether there is an interaction with severity of impairment.

Method: A total of 102 participants with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder were categorized as severely or less severely cognitively impaired and randomly assigned to receive NET + WT or WT alone. NET consisted of cognitive training exercises in attention, memory, executive function, and social information processing, and WT was a 6-month work program.

Results: Comparison on Digits Backwards from intake to follow-up revealed significantly greater improvement for participants receiving NET + WT, but there was no interaction with severity group. Follow-up 6 months after training showed that training effects endured.

Conclusion: NET + WT improved working memory for most participants regardless of impairment severity. Intensity and duration of training may have contributed to duration of effects. Findings support continued exploration of cognitive remediation.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory Disorders / etiology*
  • Memory Disorders / rehabilitation
  • Memory Disorders / therapy*
  • Middle Aged
  • Schizophrenia / complications*
  • Schizophrenia / rehabilitation
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome