Contribution of neurocognition to 18-month employment outcomes in first-episode psychosis

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Abstract

Aim:

To examine whether baseline neurocognition predicts vocational outcomes over 18 months in patients with first-episode psychosis enrolled in a randomized controlled trial of Individual Placement and Support or treatment as usual.

Methods:

One-hundred and thirty-four first-episode psychosis participants completed an extensive neurocognitive battery. Principal axis factor analysis using PROMAX rotation was used to determine the underlying structure of the battery. Setwise (hierarchical) multiple linear and logistic regressions were used to examine predictors of (1) total hours employed over 18 months and (2) employment status, respectively. Neurocognition factors were entered in the models after accounting for age, gender, premorbid IQ, negative symptoms, treatment group allocation and employment status at baseline.

Results:

Five neurocognitive factors were extracted: (1) processing speed, (2) verbal learning and memory, (3) knowledge and reasoning, (4) attention and working memory and (5) visual organization and memory. Employment status over 18 months was not significantly predicted by any of the predictors in the final model. Total hours employed over 18 months were significantly predicted by gender (P = .027), negative symptoms (P = .032) and verbal learning and memory (P = .040). Every step of the regression model was a significant predictor of total hours worked overall (final model: P = .013).

Conclusion:

Verbal learning and memory, negative symptoms and gender were implicated in duration of employment in first-episode psychosis. The other neurocognitive domains did not significantly contribute to the prediction of vocational outcomes over 18 months. Interventions targeting verbal memory may improve vocational outcomes in early psychosis.

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