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J Int Neuropsychol Soc. 2011 Mar;17(2):327-35. doi: 10.1017/S1355617710001712. Epub 2011 Feb 11.

The Plan-a-Day approach to measuring planning ability in patients with schizophrenia.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany.


Deficits in executive functioning are closely related to the level of everyday functioning in patients with schizophrenia. However, many existing neuropsychological measures are limited in their ability to predict functional outcome. To contribute towards closing this gap, we developed a computer-based test of planning ability ("Plan-a-Day") that requires participants to create daily activity schedules in a simulated work setting. Eighty patients diagnosed with schizophrenia were tested with Plan-a-Day and a battery of cognitive ability tests. Plan-a-Day showed satisfactory psychometric properties in terms of consistency, reliability, and construct validity. Compared to other neuropsychological tests used in this study, it also demonstrated incremental validity with regard to the Global Assessment of Functioning. The Plan-a-Day approach, therefore, seems to represent a valid alternative for measuring planning ability in patients with executive function deficits, occupying a middle ground between traditional neuropsychological tests and real-life assessments.

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