A comparison of cognitive structure in schizophrenia patients and healthy controls using confirmatory factor analysis

Dwight Dickinson, John D Ragland, Monica E. Calkins, James M. Gold, Ruben C. Gur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


There is evidence that cognitive task performance breaks down into the same broad domains in schizophrenia as in healthy populations. However, this does not mean that the domains are independent of one another or that the interrelationships among domains are the same between groups. We used confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) to compare the latent structure of a broad neuropsychological battery in schizophrenia patients (n = 148) and healthy controls (n = 157). Main analyses examined the fit of a hierarchical six-factor model, in which associations among the factors were assumed to reflect their strong shared relationship to a general cognitive ability factor. The model incorporated the factors of verbal comprehension, perceptual organization, verbal memory, spatial memory, processing speed, and executive/working memory. The hierarchical model provided a good overall fit to data from both groups. However multiple groups CFA revealed significant differences in factor loadings between groups, reflecting a more generalized latent structure of cognitive ability in schizophrenia. This was also evident in higher bivariate correlations among cognitive domain composite scores calculated from the observed test data. Cognitive ability, as reflected in test performance, appears to be more unitary in schizophrenia than in healthy subjects. This finding may have measurement and treatment implications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20-29
Number of pages10
JournalSchizophrenia Research
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Jul 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Cognition
  • Confirmatory factor analysis
  • Neuropsychology
  • Schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Neurology
  • Psychology(all)


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