Intelligence trajectories in individuals at ultra-high risk for psychosis: An 8-year longitudinal analysis

Nicholas Cheng, Ashleigh Lin, Stephen Bowden, Caroline Gao, Alison R. Yung, Barnaby Nelson, Andrew Thompson, Hok Pan Yuen, Warrick J. Brewer, Daniela Cagliarini, Annie Bruxner, Magenta Simmons, Christina Broussard, Christos Pantelis, Patrick D. McGorry, Kelly Allott, Stephen J. Wood

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Cognitive impairment is a well-documented predictor of transition to a full-threshold psychotic disorder amongst individuals at ultra-high risk (UHR) for psychosis. However, less is known about whether change in cognitive functioning differs between those who do and do not transition. Studies to date have not examined trajectories in intelligence constructs (e.g., acquired knowledge and fluid intelligence), which have demonstrated marked impairments in individuals with schizophrenia. This study aimed to examine intelligence trajectories using longitudinal data spanning an average of eight years, where some participants completed assessments over three time-points. Participants (N = 139) at UHR for psychosis completed the Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence (WASI) at each follow-up. Linear mixed-effects models mapped changes in WASI Full-Scale IQ (FSIQ) and T-scores on Vocabulary, Similarities, Block Design, and Matrix Reasoning subtests. The sample showed stable and improving trajectories for FSIQ and all subtests. There were no significant differences in trajectories between those who did and did not transition to psychosis and between individuals with good and poor functional outcomes. However, although not significant, the trajectories of the acquired knowledge subtests diverged between transitioned and non-transitioned individuals (β = −0.12, 95 % CI [−0.29, 0.05] for Vocabulary and β = −0.14, 95 % CI [−0.33, 0.05] for Similarities). Overall, there was no evidence for long-term deterioration in intelligence trajectories in this UHR sample. Future studies with a larger sample of transitioned participants may be needed to explore potential differences in intelligence trajectories between UHR transition groups and other non-psychosis outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)140-148
Number of pages9
JournalSchizophrenia Research
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022


  • Clinical high risk
  • Cognition
  • Functioning
  • Prodrome
  • Transition

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