Background: Neurocognitive deficits and self-disorders (i.e. altered basic self-awareness or - sense of self) have both been suggested as fundamental trait features of schizophrenia. However, no study until now has investigated the relationship between these two core features.
Aim: To investigate the relationship between self-disorders and neurocognitive performance in patients with schizophrenia.
Method: Self-disorders were assessed in 57 patients in the early phase of schizophrenia by means of the Examination of Anomalous Self-Experience (EASE) instrument. The neurocognitive assessments included measures of psychomotor speed, working memory, executive- and memory functions.
Results: There were few associations between self-disorders and neurocognitive impairments. However, high levels of SDs were significantly associated with impaired verbal memory.
Conclusion: The reason for the general lack of associations between self-disorders and neurocognition could be that they represent different basic features of the illness. Verbal memory may however be linked to deficits in the patients' ability to comprehend, direct, remember and reason about their thoughts, functions that are intimately related to the basic sense of self.
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