European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 237–245 | Cite as

Variability of ecological executive function in children and adolescents genetically at high risk for schizophrenia: a latent class analysis

  • Meng Li
  • Yang Li
  • Jiwei Sun
  • Di Shao
  • Qianqian Yang
  • Fenglin CaoEmail author
Original Contribution


Executive impairments have been observed both in patients with schizophrenia and in their unaffected first-degree relatives. Very few studies have investigated neurocognitive subgroups in unaffected first-degree relatives and in healthy participants using data-driven methods. The study included a high-risk group consisting of 100 unaffected young offspring and siblings of patients with schizophrenia and 198 healthy controls, all aged between 9 and 23 years. Executive function, victimization, and emotional and behavioral problems of participants were assessed by a series of self-report scales. Neurocognitive subgroups were investigated using latent class analysis of executive function measures. Four neurocognitive clusters were identified: a good performance cluster, a good self-control cluster, a low self-control cluster, and a severe impairment cluster. Participants in severe impaired executive function cluster reported a significantly higher level of victimization and had more prominent emotional and behavioral problems than the good performance cluster. Neurocognitive differences between high-risk young people and healthy controls were driven by individuals who have severe and global, rather than selective, executive deficits. Our results may provide clues to an explanation of the mechanisms behind executive impairments in young individuals at genetic risk and help to identify new targets for early interventions.


Schizophrenia Executive function Neurocognitive disorder Adolescence 



Executive function


High risk


Healthy control


Latent class analysis


Latent class


Statistical Package for Social Sciences



The authors extend their gratitude to all the participants for their time and effort. This study was financially supported by the Natural Science Foundation of Shandong Province (No. ZR2013HM087). All authors had critically reviewed and contributed to manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have declared that they have no competing or potential conflicts of interest.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (JPEG 609 KB)
787_2018_1168_MOESM2_ESM.docx (19 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOCX 19 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of NursingShandong UniversityJinanPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.School of NursingUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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