Confirmatory factor analysis reveals a latent cognitive structure common to bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and normal controls

David J. Schretlen, Javier Peña, Eleni Aretouli, Izaskun Orue, Nicola G. Cascella, Godfrey D. Pearlson, Natalia Ojeda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Objective: We sought to determine whether a single hypothesized latent factor structure would characterize cognitive functioning in three distinct groups. Methods: We assessed 576 adults (340 community controls, 126 adults with bipolar disorder, and 110 adults with schizophrenia) using 15 measures derived from nine cognitive tests. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was conducted to examine the fit of a hypothesized six-factor model. The hypothesized factors included attention, psychomotor speed, verbal memory, visual memory, ideational fluency, and executive functioning. Results: The six-factor model provided an excellent fit for all three groups [for community controls, root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA) <0.048 and comparative fit index (CFI) = 0.99; for adults with bipolar disorder, RMSEA = 0.071 and CFI = 0.99; and for adults with schizophrenia, RMSEA = 0.06 and CFI = 0.98]. Alternate models that combined fluency with processing speed or verbal and visual memory reduced the goodness of fit. Multi-group CFA results supported factor invariance across the three groups. Conclusions: Confirmatory factor analysis supported a single six-factor structure of cognitive functioning among patients with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder and community controls. While the three groups clearly differ in level of performance, they share a common underlying architecture of information processing abilities. These cognitive factors could provide useful targets for clinical trials of treatments that aim to enhance information processing in persons with neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)422-433
Number of pages12
JournalBipolar Disorders
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 2013


  • Bipolar disorder
  • Cognition
  • Confirmatory factor analysis
  • Invariance
  • Latent variable analysis
  • Neuropsychology
  • Schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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