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

Mia Rademeyer, Pierre Joubert

Abstract


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.


Keywords


schizophrenia, cognitive deficit, MOCA, MMSE

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

Submitted: 24 August 2015
Published: 06 May 2016




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