Negative symptoms are present early on during the first episode of psychosis (FEP). The severity of these symptoms has been linked to cognitive deficits, including memory; however, its relationship with persistent negative symptoms (PNS) remains unclear. Thus, the goals of the current paper were to explore memory profiles in FEP patients identified as having PNS and to delineate this relationship in PNS over a 1-year period. Patients diagnosed as having a first episode of psychosis were segregated into groups of patients who met the criteria for PNS (N = 39) and patients who did not, or non-PNS (N = 97). At an initial assessment, all subjects were administered neurocognitive tests for three memory domains including verbal, visual and working memory. In addition, in FEP patients, clinical symptoms including negative, positive and depressive symptoms were also measured at the initial assessment as well as months 1, 2, 3, 6, 9, and 12. A significant interaction of memory × group was observed (F = 4.997, d.f. = 1,181, P = 0.002), with post hoc comparisons indicating that the PNS group performed more poorly than non-PNS only in the verbal memory domain. All three-memory domains remained stable over time. Hence, in comparison to non-PNS patients, FEP patients with PNS appear to have greater (selective) verbal memory impairments throughout the first year of treatment.
Copyright © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.