April 1973

Sustained Attention in Remitted Schizophrenics

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Psychiatry, Boston University School of Medicine, and Boston State Hospital.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1973;28(4):533-537. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1973.01750340065011

Sixteen drug-free discharged remitted schizophrenics and twenty control subjects were tested on the Continuous Performance Test (CPT), a test of sustained attention. Following baseline testing, a distraction condition consisting of auditory and visual distractors was introduced. A third session without distractors represented a recovery period. Remitted schizophrenics failed to respond to critical stimuli (omission errors) during distractor period significantly more often than did controls. They more frequently responded to noncritical stimuli (commission errors). Response latency time for schizophrenics during recovery was prolonged. Poor premorbib schizophrenic subjects made significantly more commission errors than did good premorbib subjects.

These results are interpreted as being compatible with a persisting attention deficit in clinically remitted schizophrenic patients.