Neurocognitive performance and functional disability in the psychosis prodrome

Tara A. Niendam, Carrie E. Bearden, Jennifer K. Johnson, Malin McKinley, Rachel Loewy, Mary O'Brien, Keith H. Nuechterlein, Michael F. Green, Tyrone D. Cannon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

218 Scopus citations


Objective: This study evaluates the pattern of neuropsychological deficits and their association with clinical symptomatology and social functioning in individuals identified as ultra-high-risk (UHR) for psychosis. Methods: A sample of 45 UHR individuals was identified using the Structured Interview for Prodromal Syndromes (SIPS) from consecutive referrals to the Staglin Music Festival Center for the Assessment and Prevention of Prodromal States (CAPPS) at UCLA. Participants were administered a neurocognitive test battery, as well as measures of global (Strauss-Carpenter Outcome Scale) and social functioning (UCLA Social Attainment Survey). Results: Participants showed significant deficits in speed of processing, verbal learning and memory, and motor speed. Poorer verbal learning and memory performance was significantly associated with poorer social functioning, and there was a trend for poorer performance on reasoning and problem solving to be associated with poorer global functioning. Verbal memory independently predicted social functioning over and above severity of negative symptoms. Cognitive deficits were not associated with severity of clinical symptomatology. Conclusions: Despite the absence of fully psychotic symptoms, UHR individuals experience significant cognitive deficits, particularly on tasks requiring speeded information-processing and efficient recall from memory, and these deficits appear to be associated with functional disability in a manner parallel to that observed in patients with established psychotic illness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100-111
Number of pages12
JournalSchizophrenia Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 2006
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the following grants: NIMH MH65079, NIMH P50 MH066286, NIMH MH14584, NARSAD Young Investigator Award, National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship, as well as donations from the Rutherford Charitable Foundation and Staglin Music Festival for Mental Health.


  • Clinical symptoms
  • Cognition
  • Outcome
  • Prodrome
  • Psychosis
  • Schizophrenia


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