Background: The cognitive dimension most widely studied in schizophrenia is executive function. Some of the specific abilities that fall under this rubric include abstraction, planning, mental flexibility, response inhibition, self monitoring, evaluation and decision making. There is strong evidence that neuropsychological impairment is related to deficits in everyday functioning abilities among persons with schizophrenia.
Aim: The present study attempts to measure executive dysfunctions in patients with schizophrenia.
Method: By using purposive sampling technique, 30 patients of schizophrenia were chosen according to ICD 10 DCR criteria alongwith a normal control group of 30 subjects. GHQ-12 was used as screening tool for normal control subjects and participants who scored below 2 were included in normal control group. Executive functioning was assessed among all the participants of experimental group as well as normal control group by using CTMT, WCST and Cognitive Symptoms Checklist (Executive Function Scale).
Result: The schizophrenic patients demonstrated executive functioning deficits in comparison to normal control subjects on Comprehensive Trail Making Test as they took more time to complete all the trails and on Wisconsin Card Sorting Test as they produced lesser number of correct response, committed more errors, exhibited high number of perseverative responses, perseverative errors and non perseverative errors, low number of conceptual responses, took more trails to complete first category and were not able to maintain set. Impairment was also found on other domains of executive functioning related to activities of daily living like processing speed, initiation, sequencing, planning and reasoning.
Conclusion: In comparison to normal participants, schizophrenia patients exhibited significant dysfunction in executive functioning and hence in activities of daily living.
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