Neurocognitive change, functional change and service intensity during community-based psychosocial rehabilitation for schizophrenia

J. S. Brekke, M. Hoe, M. F. Green

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34 Scopus citations


Background This study examined the magnitude of neurocognitive change during 1 year of community-based psychosocial intervention, whether neurocognitive change and functional change were linked, and how neurocognitive change combined with service intensity to facilitate functional change.Method A total of 130 individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia were recruited upon admission to four community-based psychosocial rehabilitation programs. Subjects were assessed at baseline, 6 and 12 months on role functioning and symptom measures. Neurocognition was measured at baseline and 12 months. Service intensity was the number of days of treatment attendance during the study period. Latent mean difference tests and Latent Growth Curve Models (LCGMs) were used to examine the study hypotheses.Results There was statistically and clinically significant functional improvement over 12 months. Neurocognition improved significantly over time. Seventy-six (58%) of the sample showed neurocognitive improvement and 54 (42%) did not. There was a significant rate of functional enhancement in the neurocognitive improver group. There was a non-significant rate of functional change in the neurocognitive non-improver group. Neurocognitive improvers showed functional improvement that was 350% greater than neurocognitive non-improvers. Service intensity did not vary between neurocognitive improvers and non-improvers but there was a strong interaction between neurocognitive improvement, service intensity and rate of functional improvement such that service intensity was strongly related to functional improvement for neurocognitive improvers but not for neurocognitive non-improvers. Medication usage and symptomatology did not confound these findings.Conclusions These findings suggest that neurocognitive improvement may be a foundation for functional change and treatment responsiveness during community-based psychosocial rehabilitation for individuals with schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1637-1647
Number of pages11
JournalPsychological Medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Functional change
  • Neurocognitive change
  • Psychosocial rehabilitation
  • Schizophrenia


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