Objectives: Impaired social, role, and neurocognitive functioning are preillness characteristics of people who later develop psychosis. In people with schizophrenia, neurocognition and negative symptoms are associated with functional impairment. We examined the relative contributions of neurocognition and symptoms to social and role functioning over time in clinically high-risk (CHR) individuals and determined if negative symptoms mediated the influence of cognition on functioning.
Methods: Social, role, and neurocognitive functioning and positive, negative, and disorganized symptoms were assessed in 167 individuals at CHR for psychosis in the North American Prodrome Longitudinal Study Phase 1 (NAPLS-1), of whom 96 were reassessed at 12 months.
Results: Regression analyses indicated that negative symptoms accounted for unique variance in social and role functioning at baseline and follow-up. Composite neurocognition accounted for unique, but modest, variance in social and role functioning at baseline and in role functioning at follow-up. Negative symptoms mediated the relationship between composite neurocognition and social and role functioning across time points. In exploratory analyses, individual tests (IQ estimate, Digit Symbol/Coding, verbal memory) selectively accounted for social and role functioning at baseline and follow-up after accounting for symptoms. When negative symptom items with content overlapping with social and role functioning measures were removed, the relationship between neurocognition and social and role functioning was strengthened.
Conclusion: The modest overlap among neurocognition, negative symptoms, and social and role functioning indicates that these domains make substantially separate contributions to CHR individuals.
Keywords: negative symptoms; neurocognition; prodrome; social and role functioning.
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