Academic journal article British Journal of Occupational Therapy

Daily Task Performance and Information Processing among People with Schizophrenia and Healthy Controls: A Comparative Study

Academic journal article British Journal of Occupational Therapy

Daily Task Performance and Information Processing among People with Schizophrenia and Healthy Controls: A Comparative Study

Article excerpt

Introduction

Cognitive impairments have been found to influence how people with schizophrenia function in the community (Green 2006). Authors have identified daily activities as particularly relevant for describing the impact of cognitive or information processing deficits on daily functioning in persons with schizophrenia (Bowie et al 2006, Bromley and Brekke 2010). Occupational therapists develop interventions based on their observations and their understanding of the difficulties experienced by their clients in daily life. One way to improve this understanding is to compare the task performance of participants with and without a diagnosis of schizophrenia. This type of comparison helps to understand how the task is generally performed by people without a diagnosis of schizophrenia. This information is used as a base for comparing and identifying whether performance differs in people with a diagnosis of schizophrenia, and if so, how.

Comparisons have also been useful to demonstrate the capacity of an assessment or task to differentiate the performance of participants with and without a diagnosis, supporting the construct validity of the assessment by using contrast groups (Hamera et al 2002). Taking these assumptions into account, the present study was intended to investigate the performance of, and use of information processing skills during, a daily task by a group of persons with schizophrenia living in the community, and to compare these to the performances of healthy controls. In this study, the use of a comparison group was expected to inform on the number and type of errors that are committed and how processing skills are used by people without a diagnosis during this specific task performance. This information would be used as a baseline to identify whether errors and the use of processing skills observed during task performance by people with a diagnosis of schizophrenia differ from those in the comparison group, in order to better understand difficulties in task performance. This understanding is expected to lead to better adapted interventions.

Literature review

Observation and assessment of task performance has frequently been used to describe the effectiveness of daily activities and to glean information about cognitive functioning (Godbout et al 2007, Hamera et al 2002, Seter et al 2011). As mentioned before, comparison of healthy controls and participants with schizophrenia has been used to identify and suggest explanations for differences in performance. A limited number of studies have compared daily task performance by people with schizophrenia with healthy controls using a cognitive perspective (Godbout et al 2007, Greenwood et al 2005, Hamera et al 2002, Semkovska et al 2004).

Results from a study by Greenwood and collaborators (2005) indicated that participants with schizophrenia had more difficulties than controls on a Test of Grocery Shopping Skills (TOGSS) on measures of accuracy (selection of the right items), redundancy (number of aisles visited), and efficiency (total time taken). Similar results were obtained in another study using the same assessment (Hamera et al 2002). The participants with schizophrenia were slower and made more redundancy errors than healthy controls; however, no differences were noted between the groups in the number of accuracy errors (Hamera et al 2002). More sequencing and repetition errors were made in a grocery shopping task and more sequencing, repetition, omission, and macro-step planning errors were made in a meal preparation task by a group of participants with schizophrenia (Semkovska et al 2004), who also took longer than controls for both tasks. In another study using the same meal preparation task, participants with schizophrenia had a longer delay between the completion of the first and last dishes than controls, more of them failing to meet the goal of having them ready at the same time (Godbout et al 2007). …

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