OBJECTIVE: Little is known about the progression of cognitive deficits in older, community-dwelling patients with schizophrenia, especially in comparison to healthy subjects. METHOD: The authors examined the relationship of age to performance on the Mattis Dementia Rating Scale in 116 outpatients with schizophrenia and 122 normal comparison subjects. Subjects ranged in age from 40 to 85 years. RESULTS: Dementia Rating Scale scores were lower in the schizophrenia group but correlated negatively with age in both groups, with no significant differences seen between the schizophrenia and normal comparison groups in slopes that depicted age-related variation. CONCLUSIONS: This cross-sectional study suggests a relatively stable long-term course of cognitive impairment in individuals with schizophrenia, with no evidence of faster cognitive decline in outpatients with schizophrenia than in normal comparison subjects.