Smoking is related to reduced motivation, but not global cognition, in the first two years of treatment for first episode psychosis

Brandon Schermitzler, Kathleen Miley, Sophia Vinogradov, Ian S. Ramsay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Smoking is highly prevalent in people with psychotic disorders, even in the earliest phases of the illness. The neural mechanisms of nicotine dependence and psychosis overlap and may also be linked to deficits in neurocognition and motivation in psychosis. Both neurocognition and motivation are recognized as important clinical targets, though previous research examining the effects of smoking on these features has been inconsistent. Here, we examine the relationships between smoking status and neurocognition and motivation over the first two years of treatment for psychosis through a secondary analysis of the Recovery After an Initial Schizophrenia Episode– Early Treatment Program (RAISE–ETP) dataset. In a sample of 404 individuals with first-episode psychosis, we examined linear mixed-effects models with the group (smoker vs. non-smoker) by time (baseline, 12-month, 24-month) interaction as a predictor of global cognition and motivation. While all individuals showed enhanced global cognition and motivation over the 24-month course of treatment, non-smokers showed significantly greater gains in motivation. These changes in motivation also corresponded to improvements in functioning over the 24-month period. No significant effects of smoking were observed for global cognition. Our findings suggest that motivation and smoking cessation may be important early treatment targets for first-episode psychosis programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1619
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 2 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Cigarette
  • Cognition
  • Motivation
  • Schizophrenia
  • Smoking


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