Objective: To examine neuropsychological performance as a possible predictor of course and outcome in first-episode psychotic (FEP) patients.
Method: A group of consecutive FEP patients (n = 120) tested with Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scales-Revised (WAIS-R) at baseline was compared with a healthy group (n = 30) matched for age, education and gender. Relationship between WAIS-R and both Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale and Global Assessment of Function (GAF) ratings were studied at baseline and at 1- and 3-year follow-ups.
Results: The performance of FEP patients was significantly lower (P < 0.001) than that of healthy comparison subjects on all WAIS-R subtests except for Information and Comprehension. The WAIS-R scores of patients with schizophrenia syndromes (DSM-IV) were lower than those of patients with non-schizophrenia syndromes on Block Design. Low WAIS-R Full-Scale IQ scores in FEP patients predicted the presence of negative symptoms at 1-year follow-up and of low GAF ratings at 3-year follow-up.
Conclusion: Neurocognitive performance at admission appears to predict various aspects of functional outcome in FEP.