The developmental aspects of cognitive structures from childhood until adulthood and across different levels of risk for psychopathology have been little studied. The aim of the current study was to explore the cognitive factorial structure in subsamples from highly familial and densely affected kindreds of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder - i.e. affected adult members, non-affected adult members and high-risk youth. The same neuropsychological battery was administered in a sample of 480 participants: schizophrenia and bipolar patients (n=51), young high-risk offspring (n=61), non-affected adult relatives of patients (n=96), and controls (n=272). Exploratory Factorial Analysis was performed in the control sample and yielded a 5-factor solution: verbal comprehension, processing speed/working memory, visual learning and memory, verbal learning and memory, reasoning and problem solving. Confirmatory factor analysis indicated that the hierarchical 5-factor solution was well suited for the young high-risk offspring, the non-affected adult relatives of patient and the patients. A hierarchical model with a "g" factor was a good fit for all subsamples. These results suggest that cognitive impairments may aggregate in highly familial individuals.
Keywords: Adolescents; Adults; Children; Confirmatory Factorial Analysis; Exploratory Factorial Analysis; Neuropsychology; g Factor.
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