Investigation of the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) as a cognitive screener in severe mental illness
Mandi W. Musso, Alex S. Cohen, Tracey L. Auster, Jessica E. McGovern
August 8, 2014
•We examine the utility of the MoCA in outpatients diagnosed with SMI.
•SMI patients scored lower on cognitive and functional measures than controls.
•The MoCA was correlated with the UPSA-2, a measure of social competence.
•The MoCA accounted for variance in UPSA-2 scores above the BACS.
•Both the MoCA and the BACS contributed unique variance in GAF scores.
This study examined the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) as a neurocognitive screener and its relationship with functional outcomes in a sample of outpatients diagnosed with severe mental illness (SMI). The MoCA, Brief Assessment of Cognition in Schizophrenia (BACS), UCSD Performance-Based Skills Assessment Test-2 (UPSA-2), and Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) were administered to 28 SMI patients and 18 non-psychiatric controls. Patients obtained significantly lower scores on the MoCA, BACS, UPSA-2, and GAF compared to non-patients. The cutoff score <26 of the MoCA resulted in favorable sensitivity (89%) but lower specificity (61%) in classification of SMI patients. The MoCA was significantly correlated with UPSA scores but not GAF scores, whereas the BACS was not significantly correlated with UPSA or GAF scores. When entered into hierarchical regression analyses, the MoCA accounted for significant variance in UPSA scores above variance accounted for by the BACS. Both the MoCA and the BACS contributed unique variance in GAF scores. Overall, the MoCA demonstrated high sensitivity as a cognitive screener in SMI. Moreover, MoCA scores were related to performance-based measures of functional capacity.