Abstract

Objective: Research suggests individuals with schizophrenia (SZ) present with sensory and motor deficits. In Puerto Rico, comprehensive neuropsychological assessment of SZ occurs infrequently, so further investigation of sensory and motor deficits is needed. This study examined sensory and motor functions in a sample of Hispanic normal adults and individuals with SZ using specific test items from the Dean-Woodcock Sensory and Motor Battery (DWSMB). Method: The sample consisted of 81 Spanish speaking individuals (40% female; mean age = 36.0 years) divided into normal control (NC: n = 59) and SZ groups (n = 22). The DWSMB was administered in Spanish to all participants. It consists of nine tests that assess auditory, visual, and tactile acuity, and nine tests that measures gross and fine motor skills, balance, expressive speech, grip strength, coordination, and lateral preference (35 items total). Results: t-tests comparing groups on the 35 DWSMB items indicated the SZ group performed significantly worse than controls on 21 items after controlling for multiple comparisons (t's ranged from 3.54 to 8.39). These included visual acuity and confrontation, naming, auditory acuity, palm writing, gait and station, Romberg test, construction, and coordination. Conclusion(s): Findings suggest sensory and motor deficits identified in English speaking individuals with schizophrenia were also present in this Hispanic sample, and that the DWSMB is useful for evaluation of these deficits. We were unable to determine whether these deficits were a primary feature of SZ itself, or might be caused by secondary influences (e.g., antipsychotic medication effects). Additional research is necessary to address this matter.