Problems in remembering to carry out future actions in first-episode schizophrenia: Primary or secondary impairment?

S.S.Y. Lui, Y. Wang, T.-X. Yang, A.C.Y. Liu, W.W.H. Chui, H.K.H. Yeung, Z. Li, D.L. Neumann, Ho Keung David Shum, E.F.C. Cheung, R.C.K. Chan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


© 2014 Elsevier Ltd.Prospective memory (PM) is the ability to remember to carry out intended actions in the future. Empirical evidence suggests that PM deficits exist in individuals with chronic schizophrenia. However, it is unclear whether PM deficits in first-episode schizophrenia exist independently from other neuropsychological deficits. Moreover, prior research using patients with first-episode has been limited to small inpatient samples. We aimed to clarify the nature and extent of PM deficits in individuals with first-episode schizophrenia, using a large outpatient sample. Participants were 91 clinically stable outpatients with first-episode schizophrenia and 83 healthy controls. PM was assessed using both a subjective self-reported checklist and a laboratory-based task capturing time- and event-based PM. A battery assessing verbal and visuo-spatial working memory, as well as executive functions was also administered. ANOVA analyses showed that patients with first-episode schizophrenia performed significantly poorer than healthy controls in time- and event-based PM. Stepwise linear regression analyses suggested that cognitive flexibility predicted time- and event-based PM; and working memory predicted event-based PM. Subgroup analyses showed that "cognitive-preserved" patients with first-episode schizophrenia tended to perform poorer in time-based PM deficit than healthy controls who were matched in IQ and other neuropsychological functions. Overall, our results provide substantial evidence to support that time-based PM deficits in first-episode schizophrenia are apparent and not entirely attributable to other neuropsychological deficits. PM may constitute a neuropsychological marker for schizophrenia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-149
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Psychiatric Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • First-episode
  • Prospective memory
  • Schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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