Background: Cognitive impairment is an established feature of schizophrenia and is a strong predictor of eventual social and functional outcome. Few studies have investigated cognitive impairment in hospital long-stay patients with schizophrenia. This study evaluates and compares cognitive function among a sample of patients with schizophrenia in both inpatient and outpatient departments in order to determine the relationship between cognitive impairment and clinical variables. A cross-sectional comparative study based on a semi-structured interview investigating 100 inpatients with schizophrenia recruited from El-Abassia Mental Health Hospital departments compared to 100 patients with schizophrenia selected from the outpatients’ clinic matched with cases. The assessment tools included SCID-I, the Adult Wechsler Intelligence Scale, the computerized version of Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST), Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), and Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS).
Results: Patients with schizophrenia showed significant deficits on cognitive function with no statistically significant difference between the inpatient and outpatient groups. Executive function was significantly correlated with verbal, non-verbal, and total IQ. Executive function was negatively correlated with the positive and general symptoms of PANSS and not correlated with its negative symptoms. In addition, we did not find any statistically significant relationship between cognitive functions and the duration of illness.
Conclusion: The study provides evidence that institutionalization is not an influential factor on cognitive impairment patients with schizophrenia. However, the psychopathological aspects of the disorder are one of the crucial factors affecting the cognitive function in schizophrenia.