Objective: The neurocognitive profile associated with severe depression includes deficits in processing speed, working memory, and auditory memory. Individuals with schizophrenia typically present with global cognitive deficits. However, the research regarding the cognitive profile for individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia and comorbid depression is minimal. This project will explore the profile for individuals with diagnosed with schizophrenia, with and without depression. Method: This study examined data obtained from patients at outpatient community mental health clinics in Louisiana, which included patients diagnosed with serious mental illnesses, including schizophrenia and major depressive disorder. Patients with a diagnosis of schizophrenia (n = 32) were sorted by severity of depressive symptoms as measured by the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS). A one-way MANOVA was then computed for the 5 domains on the Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status (RBANS) using severity of depression as a dimensional independent variable. In order to maximize sensitivity, the MANOVA was completed a second time using individual subtests from the RBANS. Results: The groups did not differ as anticipated, and no significant differences were observed on the index score or subtest analyses. Effect sizes were generally small to negligible (see Table 1). Conclusion: The global cognitive deficits associated with schizophrenia supplant the deficit profile often associated with depression. This conclusion supports findings that there may be minimal differences in cognition between different symptom sets. Future research should examine global symptom severity, rather than diagnostic categories, when comparing deficit profiles in the presence of psychosis.

Table 1.
Pearson Correlation with BPRS Depression
 
RBANS Index Pearson's r (Effect Size) 
Immediate Memory .122 (Small) 
Visuoconstruction −.005 (Negligible) 
Language .068 (Negligible) 
Attention .168 (Small) 
Delayed Memory −.023 (Negligible) 
Pearson Correlation with BPRS Depression
 
RBANS Index Pearson's r (Effect Size) 
Immediate Memory .122 (Small) 
Visuoconstruction −.005 (Negligible) 
Language .068 (Negligible) 
Attention .168 (Small) 
Delayed Memory −.023 (Negligible)