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PLoS One. 2013 Dec 20;8(12):e83774. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0083774. eCollection 2013.

Subjective cognitive complaints in schizophrenia: relation to antipsychotic medication dose, actual cognitive performance, insight and symptoms.

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  • 1Institute of Psychology, Health and Society, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, United Kingdom.
  • 2School of Psychological Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom.
  • 3Division of Health Research, Lancaster University, Lancaster, United Kingdom.



Subjective cognitive complaints are prevalent in those affected by functional psychoses and a variety of possible associated factors have been investigated. However, few studies have examined these potential factors within single studies or analyses.


Patients with a history of a schizophrenia spectrum disorder (nā€Š=ā€Š115) and a non-clinical comparison group (nā€Š=ā€Š45) completed the Subjective Scale to Investigate Cognition in Schizophrenia (SSTICS) and the Brief Assessment of Cognition in Schizophrenia (BACS). The patient group also completed the Positive and Negative Syndromes Scale (PANSS), the Birchwood Insight Scale (IS), and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS).


The BACS and SSTICS scores were associated in the non-clinical comparison group, but not in the patient group. In the patient group worse subjective cognition was associated positively with good insight, greater dysphoria and greater positive symptoms. Linear regression revealed that, once other variables had been accounted for, dysphoria (HADS anxiety and depression factor) was the only significant predictor of SSTICS scores.


Subjective cognitive impairment in patients with psychosis in the absence of formal testing should not be taken as evidence of impaired cognitive functioning. Mood should be investigated when patients present with subjective cognitive complaints.

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