This study examined the potential of using the regular administration of a common neuropsychological test, the CVLT-II, to assess learning potential in schizophrenia. Based on List A trial 1 performance and the learning slope, a schizophrenia sample was divided into three learning potential groups (non-learners, learners and high-achievers) that differed in the use of learning strategies. High-achievers utilized more semantic clustering than learners and non-learners, and non-learners were less consistent in words recalled than the other two groups. This standard administration approach is a promising, time-saving alternative to the modified tests of learning potential used so far.
Employment is an important part of recovery for individuals with schizophrenia. The employment rate for this group is as low as 10% in Norway, and major system related barriers to employment are evident.
This study reports the competitive employment outcome at 2-year follow-up of a vocational rehabilitation study augmented with cognitive remediation (CR) or elements from cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) for individuals with schizophrenia spectrum disorders. It also investigates if global functioning, self-esteem, and depression at baseline predicts employment outcome, and if change in these variables during the intervention period is associated with employment outcome.
One hundred and forty-eight participants with schizophrenia spectrum disorders in six Norwegian counties received 10 months vocational rehabilitation augmented with either CBT (n?=?84) or CR (n?=?64). Both competitive and sheltered workplaces were used. Participants were assessed at baseline, at the end of the intervention period, and at 2-year follow-up.
At 2-year follow-up, 21.2% had obtained competitive employment. A further 25.3% had work placements in competitive workplaces. Significant improvements were found in global functioning, self-esteem, and depression during the intervention period, but no significant differences between the two intervention groups. High baseline global functioning and self-esteem, as well as positive change in these variables during the intervention period, were significantly associated with higher competitive employment outcome at 2-year follow-up.
The results add to existing evidence that competitive employment is attainable for individuals with schizophrenia. High global functioning and self-esteem were strongly associated with competitive employment outcome.
The MATRICS Consensus Cognitive Battery (MCCB) assesses seven cognitive domains with 10 subtests. This domain structure has not been demonstrated. Three factors have been produced in US samples. We examined the dimensional structure of the Norwegian MCCB. In addition, we studied the contribution of each subtest to the battery sum score.
The participants were 131 patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders and 300 healthy controls. Their Norwegian MCCB test scores were subject to exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis and regression analysis.
The theoretical MCCB factor structure was not shown. In the patient group, three-factor and two-factor models had acceptable fit. In both groups, the Symbol Coding, Spatial Span, Letter-Number Span, and Visual Learning subtests contributed most to the sum score.
The theoretical domain structure of the MCCB could not be demonstrated in these Norwegian participants. Consonant with US studies, models with three and two factors had mediocre fit, and in the schizophrenia spectrum disorder group only. In both groups, the subtests Symbol Coding, Working Memory, and Learning were the most sensitive in tapping general neurocognitive performance, supporting US results. We conclude that in both Norway and the USA, the MCCB generates the same cognitive domains through factor analysis, but that these domains are not the ones suggested by the MATRICS project.
Neurocognitive impairment is a core feature in psychotic disorders and the MATRICS Consensus Cognitive Battery (MCCB) is now widely used to assess neurocognition in this group. The MATRICS has been translated into several languages, including Norwegian; although this version has yet to be investigated in an adult clinical population. Further, the relationship between the MATRICS and different measures of functioning needs examination. The purpose of this study was to describe neurocognition assessed with the Norwegian version of the MATRICS battery in a sample of patients with psychotic disorders compared to age and gender matched healthy controls and to examine the association with educational-, occupational- and social-functioning in the patient group. One hundred and thirty one patients and 137 healthy controls completed the battery. The Norwegian version of the MATRICS was sensitive to the magnitude of neurocognitive impairments in patients with psychotic disorders, with patients displaying significant impairments on all domains relative to healthy controls. Neurocognition was also related to both self-rated and objective functional measures such as social functioning, educational- and employment-history.
Due to limited research on the association between recurrence of mood episodes and the longitudinal course of neurocognitive functioning in early phase bipolar I disorder (BD I), the impact of recurrence on neurocognition remains unclear. Further, a strong correlation between neurocognitive impairment and functional impairment has been demonstrated. The longitudinal relationship between neurocognitive impairment and functional outcome in relation to recurrence is, however, not established.
The current study investigated the longitudinal relationship between neurocognition, recurrence of mood episodes and functional outcome in a sample of first-treatment (FT) BD I patients (N = 42), with and without relapse, during a 1-year follow-up period. The longitudinal course of neurocognitive functioning in the patients was also compared to that of a group of healthy controls (N = 143).
Compared to both patients with relapse and healthy controls, no-relapse patients showed neurocognitive improvements. The polarity of the relapse episodes was mostly depressive, and for the no-relapse patients, reduction of symptoms was associated with neurocognitive improvement. No-relapse patients showed better global and occupational functioning.
The current study found different neurocognitive and functional trajectories in FT BD I patients with and without relapse, with differences at follow-up to some degree being mediated by current symptoms. The current findings highlight the importance of treatment focusing on neurocognition and symptom states with the aim of improving functional recovery.
Reported employment rates for patients with psychosis are low, but vary partly depending on illness phase. Illness-related factors such as neurocognition and negative symptoms are associated with occupational functioning, while external factors may also act as barriers for employment. The current study investigated the relationship between neurocognition, symptoms and employment using a threefold division of employment status: employed, receiving temporary benefits and receiving disability benefits. The latter group was divided into two based on level of social functioning.
A total of 155 patients with broad DSM-IV schizophrenia spectrum disorder were assessed with clinical, neurocognitive and social and occupational functioning measures. Group differences were analyzed with ANOVAs and hierarchical regression analysis.
Thirteen percent were employed, 52?% received temporary benefits and 35?% received disability benefits. There were no differences in symptom level and neurocognitive functioning between groups. Among patients on disability benefits, the subgroup with higher social functioning had fewer negative and general symptoms and a trend for better neurocognition compared with those with lower social functioning, thus being more similar to employed patients. Negative symptoms and executive functioning explained 26?% of the variance in social functioning for patients receiving disability benefits.
The association between neurocognition and employment may not be as strong as previously assumed, due to external factors that may influence this relationship. Patients on disability benefits rated high on social functioning showed similarities with employed patients. This could imply that these patients have some work capacity. This issue needs further investigation.
Schizophrenia is associated with recurrent hospitalizations, need for long-term community support, poor social functioning, and low employment rates. Despite the wide- ranging financial and social burdens associated with the illness, there is great uncertainty regarding prevalence, employment rates, and the societal costs of schizophrenia. The current study investigates 12-month prevalence of patients treated for schizophrenia, employment rates, and cost of schizophrenia using a population-based top-down approach. Data were obtained from comprehensive and mandatory health and welfare registers in Norway. We identified a 12-month prevalence of 0.17% for the entire population. The employment rate among working-age individuals was 10.24%. The societal costs for the 12-month period were USD 890 million. The average cost per individual with schizophrenia was USD 106 thousand. Inpatient care and lost productivity due to high unemployment represented 33% and 29%, respectively, of the total costs. The use of mandatory health and welfare registers enabled a unique and informative analysis on true population-based datasets.
Cites: Curr Med Res Opin. 2011 Feb;27(2):327-3321155708
The Work Behavior Inventory (WBI) was developed in the USA for the assessment of vocational functioning for people with severe mental illness. It is rated in a work setting by an employment specialist through observation and an interview with the immediate supervisor.
The present study aims to examine the psychometric properties of the Norwegian version of the WBI.
The participants (n = 148) of the Job Management Program (JUMP) study for psychotic disorders were assessed with the WBI around the fourth week of work. A principal component analysis identified three substantial factors.
The three corresponding scales were termed Social Skills revised, Work Quality revised and Compliance with work norms. The scales had a high internal consistency. Correlations with the Social Functioning Scale, education and previous work history supported the validity of the subscales.
The results indicate that the Norwegian version of the WBI maintains good psychometric properties, and that vocational functioning can be reliably and validly assessed in a Norwegian setting.
There has been a lack of validated assessment tools for this group in Norway. Functional assessment with the WBI provides a comprehensive evaluation of the individuals' strengths and challenges in the vocational setting, and provides goals for the vocational rehabilitation.
This study examined the outcomes of a vocational rehabilitation program (The Job Management Program, JUMP) for persons with psychotic disorders based on close collaboration between health and welfare services.
Participants (N?=?148) with broad schizophrenia spectrum disorders (age 18-65) were recruited from six counties in Norway. Three counties were randomized to vocational rehabilitation augmented with cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), while the remaining three counties were randomized to vocational rehabilitation augmented with cognitive remediation (CR). This paper compares the vocational activity of the total group of JUMP participants with a treatment as usual group (N?=?341), and further examines differences between the two JUMP interventions. Employment status (working/not working) was registered at the time of inclusion and at the end of the intervention period.
The total number of JUMP participants in any kind of vocational activity increased from 17 to 77% during the intervention. Of these, 8% had competitive employment, 36% had work placements in ordinary workplaces with social security benefits as their income, and 33% had sheltered work. The total number of working participants in the TAU group increased from 15.5 to 18.2%. The JUMP group showed significant improvements of positive (t?=?-2.33, p?=?0.02) and general (t?=?-2.75, p?=?0.007) symptoms of psychosis. Significant differences between the CBT and CR interventions were not demonstrated.
The study supports existing evidence that the majority of persons with broad schizophrenia spectrum disorders can cope with some kind of work, given that internal and external barriers are reduced. Those who wish to work should be offered vocational rehabilitation.
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01139502 . Registered on 6 February 2010.
Cites: World Psychiatry. 2012 Feb;11(1):32-922295007