Behavioral response inhibition in psychotic disorders: Diagnostic specificity, familiality and relation to generalized cognitive deficit

Lauren E. Ethridge, Melanie Soilleux, Paul A. Nakonezny, James L. Reilly, S. Kristian Hill, Richard S.E. Keefe, Elliot S. Gershon, Godfrey D. Pearlson, Carol A. Tamminga, Matcheri S. Keshavan, John A. Sweeney

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    37 Scopus citations


    Difficulty inhibiting context-inappropriate behavior is a common deficit in psychotic disorders. The diagnostic specificity of this impairment, its familiality, and its degree of independence from the generalized cognitive deficit associated with psychotic disorders remain to be clarified. Schizophrenia, schizoaffective and bipolar patients with history of psychosis (n = 523), their available first-degree biological relatives (n = 656), and healthy participants (n = 223) from the multi-site B-SNIP study completed a manual Stop Signal task. A nonlinear mixed model was used to fit logistic curves to success rates on Stop trials as a function of parametrically varied Stop Signal Delay. While schizophrenia patients had greater generalized cognitive deficit than bipolar patients, their deficits were similar on the Stop Signal task. Further, only bipolar patients showed impaired inhibitory control relative to healthy individuals after controlling for generalized cognitive deficit. Deficits accounted for by the generalized deficit were seen in relatives of schizophrenia and schizoaffective patients, but not in relatives of bipolar patients. In clinically stable patients with psychotic bipolar disorder, impaired inhibitory behavioral control was a specific cognitive impairment, distinct from the generalized neuropsychological impairment associated with psychotic disorders. Thus, in bipolar disorder with psychosis, a deficit in inhibitory control may contribute to risk for impulsive behavior. Because the deficit was not familial in bipolar families and showed a lack of independence from the generalized cognitive deficit in schizophrenia spectrum disorders, it appears to be a trait related to illness processes rather than one tracking familial risk factors.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)491-498
    Number of pages8
    JournalSchizophrenia Research
    Issue number2-3
    StatePublished - Nov 1 2014


    • Family study
    • Psychotic bipolar disorder
    • Response inhibition
    • Schizophrenia
    • Stop signal

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Psychiatry and Mental health
    • Biological Psychiatry


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