Repeatable battery for the assessment of neuropsychological status as a screening test in schizophrenia I: sensitivity, reliability, and validity

J M Gold, C Queern, V N Iannone, R W Buchanan
American Journal of Psychiatry 1999, 156 (12): 1944-50

OBJECTIVE: Cognitive impairment is an important feature of schizophrenia and is correlated with functional outcome. However, psychiatry lacks a screening instrument that can reliably assess the types of cognitive impairment often seen in schizophrenia. The authors assessed the sensitivity, convergent validity, and reliability of the Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status (RBANS) as well as the relationship of the RBANS to symptoms and employment status. This newly published test takes 25 minutes to administer and was standardized on a U.S.-Census-matched adult population. The test provides a total score and five index scores, each with a mean value of 100 (SD = 15).

METHOD: RBANS data were obtained from 129 patients with schizophrenia in the outpatient and inpatient programs of the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center. RBANS data were correlated with WAIS-III and Wechsler Memory Scale, 3rd ed. performance in 38 patients. Reliability data for alternate forms of the RBANS were obtained from 53 patients; symptom ratings were obtained from 48 patients; and employment status was examined in 77 patients.

RESULTS: The patients with schizophrenia demonstrated marked impairment on the RBANS (their mean total score was 71.4). The patients' index scores suggested that they had relatively less impairment of language and visual functions than of memory and attention. The RBANS demonstrated high correlations with full-scale IQ and memory measures. The total score demonstrated good reliability. RBANS performance minimally correlated with Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale ratings but was strongly related to employment outcome.

CONCLUSIONS: The RBANS appears to be a useful cognitive screening instrument in schizophrenia. The instrument may be a useful prognostic indicator and offers a means of assessing cognitive status.

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