A comparison between the Mini-Mental State Examination and the Montreal Cognitive Assessment Test in schizophrenia

Mia Rademeyer, Pierre Joubert


Background: Cognitive impairment is a core feature of schizophrenia that also has strong prognostic significance. In most clinical settings comprehensive neuropsychological testing to detect cognitive impairment in schizophrenia patients is not readily available, but because cognitive deficits in schizophrenia are clinically important it would be useful to detect or at least screen for them in a clinical setting. Unfortunately there are no validated, brief screening instruments for the detection of cognitive impairment in schizophrenia. Nevertheless, the Montreal Cognitive Assessment Test (MoCA) and the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) show promise in this regard. The objective of this study was to compare the results of the MMSE and MoCA in a group of outpatient schizophrenia sufferers to contribute to research into the instruments’ potential usefulness as screening tools for cognitive impairment in schizophrenia.

Method: The Afrikaans versions of the MMSE and MoCA were administered to Afrikaansspeaking adult outpatients. Participants had at least seven years of formal education and had been in partial or full remission for at least 3 months. The MMSE and MoCA scores for each participant were matched and compared using the non-parametric Wilcoxon matched pairs test.

Results: The sample consisted of 30 Afrikaans-speaking outpatients with schizophrenia. The mean MMSE score was 27.17 ± 2.64, and the mean MoCA score was 22.53 ± 3.91. There was a statistically significant difference between participants’ performance on the MMSE and MoCA tests (p = 0.000008).

Conclusion: Compared to the MMSE, the MoCA may be a more useful instrument to detect cognitive impairment in patients with schizophrenia. Further studies are required.


schizophrenia, cognitive deficit, MOCA, MMSE

Full Text:


DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/sajpsychiatry.v22i1.890

Submitted: 24 August 2015
Published: 06 May 2016

African Online Scientific Information Systems (Pty) Ltd t/a AOSIS
Reg No: 2002/002017/07
RSA Tel: 086 1000 381
International Tel: +27 21 975 2602
15 Oxford Street, Durbanville, Cape Town, 7550, South Africa
publishing(AT)aosis.co.za replace (AT) with @

All articles published in this journal are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license, unless otherwise stated.
Website design & content: ©2018 AOSIS (Pty) Ltd. All rights reserved. No unauthorised duplication allowed.
By continuing to use this website, you agree to our Privacy Policy.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Get specific, domain-collection newsletters detailing the latest CPD courses, scholarly research and call-for-papers in your field.


South African Journal of Psychiatry    |    ISSN: 1608-9685 (PRINT)    |    ISSN: 2078-6786 (ONLINE)