Cognitive impairment in schizophrenia and affective psychoses: implications for DSM-V criteria and beyond

Schizophr Bull. 2010 Jan;36(1):36-42. doi: 10.1093/schbul/sbp094. Epub 2009 Sep 23.


It has recently been suggested that the diagnostic criteria of schizophrenia should include specific reference to cognitive impairments characterizing the disorder. Arguments in support of this assertion contend that such inclusion would not only serve to increase the awareness of cognitive deficits in affected patients, among both clinicians and researchers alike, but also increase the "point of rarity" between schizophrenia and mood disorders. The aim of the current article is to examine this latter assertion in light of the recent opinion piece provided by Keefe and Fenton (Keefe RSE, Fenton WS. How should DSM-V criteria for schizophrenia include cognitive impairment? Schizophr Bull. 2007;33:912-920). Through literature review, we explore the issue of whether cognitive deficits do in fact differentiate the major psychoses. The overall results of this inquiry suggest that inclusion of cognitive impairment criteria in Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fifth Edition) (DSM-V) would not provide a major advancement in discriminating schizophrenia from bipolar disorder and affective psychoses. Therefore, while cognitive impairment should be included in DSM-V, it should not dictate diagnostic specificity--at least not until more comprehensive evidence-based reviews of the current diagnostic system have been undertaken. Based on this evidence, we consider several alternatives for the DSM-V definition of cognitive impairment in schizophrenia, including (1) the inclusion of cognitive impairment as a specifier and (2) the definition of cognitive impairment as a dimension within a hybrid categorical-dimensional system. Given the state of current evidence, these possibilities appear to represent the most parsimonious approaches to the inclusion of cognitive deficits in the diagnostic criteria of schizophrenia and, potentially, of mood disorders.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Affective Disorders, Psychotic / classification*
  • Affective Disorders, Psychotic / diagnosis*
  • Affective Disorders, Psychotic / psychology
  • Bipolar Disorder / classification
  • Bipolar Disorder / diagnosis
  • Bipolar Disorder / psychology
  • Cognition Disorders / classification*
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Cognition Disorders / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / classification
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / psychology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders*
  • Humans
  • Schizophrenia / classification*
  • Schizophrenia / diagnosis*
  • Schizophrenic Psychology