Phoenix, AZ, December 7-11
Assessment of functional capacity is critical to the treatment of cognitive impairments in schizophrenia. Current methods are highly correlated with performance on neuropsychological tests, but suffer from compromised ecological validity due to reliance on role playing exercises. Methods of assessment with improved ecological validity are acutely needed. In response, we have developed a computerized virtual reality assessment that contains the components of a shopping trip, including searching the pantry, making a list, taking the correct bus, shopping, paying for purchases, and getting home. Previous pilot studies indicated that the assessment of functional capacity with virtual reality methodology is feasible, and suggested such a tool may meet criteria for use as a co-primary measure. The primary aims of the current study were to extend our previous results to 1) assess the validity, sensitivity, and reliability of the Virtual Reality Functional Capacity Assessment Tool (VRFCAT) as a primary measure of functional capacity in schizophrenia; 2) examine the VRFCAT’s ability to quantify changes in functional capacity by comparing it to the UCSD Performance-based Skills Assessment (UPSA-2-VIM); and 3) determine the association between performance on the VRFCAT and performance on the MATRICS Consensus Cognitive Battery (MCCB), which is the gold standard measure of cognition in pharmaceutical clinical trials regulated by the FDA.