Verbal working memory impairment in schizophrenia patients and their first-degree relatives: Evidence from the digit span task

Heather M. Conklin, Clayton E. Curtis, Joanna Katsanis, William G. Iacono

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objective: The evidence for verbal working memory deficits in schizophrenia has been inconsistent. Few studies have evaluated verbal working memory in the first-degree relatives of schizophrenia patients, who likely share the genetic diathesis for schizophrenia but not the potential confounds associated with chronic mental illness. Method: The Wechsler Digit Span Task was used to investigate verbal working memory in 52 schizophrenia patients, 56 of their first-degree relatives, and 73 nonpsychiatric comparison subjects. Results: The nonpsychotic relatives showed no impairment on the forward digit span task, a measure of general attention, but did show impairment on the backward digit span task, a measure of verbal working memory. Schizophrenia patients showed impairment on both the forward and backward digit span tasks. Conclusions: These results indicate that the forward and backward digit span tasks tap different cognitive abilities that are differentially associated with the diathesis for schizophrenia. Working memory deficits associated with schizophrenia appear to be generalized and not limited to the spatial modality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)275-277
Number of pages3
JournalAmerican Journal of Psychiatry
Volume157
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2000

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Short-Term Memory
Schizophrenia
Disease Susceptibility
Memory Disorders
Aptitude
Chronic Disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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Verbal working memory impairment in schizophrenia patients and their first-degree relatives : Evidence from the digit span task. / Conklin, Heather M.; Curtis, Clayton E.; Katsanis, Joanna; Iacono, William G.

In: American Journal of Psychiatry, Vol. 157, No. 2, 02.2000, p. 275-277.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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