Is Longer Treatment Better? A Comparison Study of 3 Versus 6 Months Cognitive Remediation in Schizophrenia

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Objective: Despite its extensive use for treating cognitive deficits in schizophrenia, computer-assisted cognitive remediation (CACR) currently lacks a standardized protocol. Duration is an important feature to be defined, as it may contribute to heterogeneous outcome. This study compares 2 treatment durations, 3 versus 6 months, to analyze their effects on both cognition and daily functioning. Method: Fifty-seven outpatients with schizophrenia received 3 months of CACR and 41 received 6 months of CACR. All patients were assessed at baseline and after 3 and 6 months with the Brief Assessment for Cognition in Schizophrenia and with the Quality of Life Scale (QLS). Results: Repeated measures ANOVA showed significant improvements in all cognitive domains after 3 months. A significant effect of treatment duration was observed only for executive functions, with significantly higher scores among patients treated for 6 months. Significant improvements in QLS were also observed after 6 months in both groups, with a significant time by treatment interaction for QLS Total Score. Conclusions: Results confirm the efficacy of 3-months CACR in terms of both cognitive and functional improvements, suggesting that an extended intervention may lead to further benefits in executive functions and daily functioning.

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