Attention and executive function in people with schizophrenia: Relationship with social skills and quality of life
Tyson, P. J.
Executive function and attention are highly complex cognitive constructs that typically reveal evidence of impairment in people with schizophrenia. Studies in this area have traditionally utilised abstract tests of cognitive function and the importance of using more ecologically valid tests has not been extensively recognised. In addition, there has been little previous examination of the relationship between these key cognitive abilities and social functioning and quality of life in this population. Thirty-six schizophrenic patients and 15 controls were assessed on the Behavioural Assessment of the Dysexecutive Syndrome (BADS) test, three subtests from the Test of Everyday Attention (TEA), a measure of social functioning and a quality of life measure. Analysis of subtest scores revealed that patients were impaired on all attentional measures, but only one BADS subtest score in addition to the BADS profile score. However, 23 patients demonstrated no impairment in their BADS profile scores whilst being impaired on at least one attentional measure. Only the BADS profile score predicted social functioning and quality of life in schizophrenic patients. We conclude that ecologically valid tests of attention and executive function can play an important role in defining the cognitive deficits in schizophrenia and how such deficits relate to social function and quality of life.