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Compr Psychiatry. 2004 Jan-Feb;45(1):16-9.

The relationship between insight and symptoms in schizophrenia.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA.

Abstract

We examined the relationship between insight and the positive, negative, active, dysphoric, and autistic dimensions of symptoms in patients with a diagnosis of schizophrenia. Ninety-six patients with a diagnosis of schizophrenia were assessed using the Scale to Assess Unawareness of Mental Disorder, Revised Version (SUMD-R) and the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS). The PANSS data were analyzed based on a five-factor model defined by White et al (1997). The percentage of patients having a lack of awareness was 32.7% for illness, 58.2% for symptoms, 18.4% for treatment response, and 41.8% for social consequences. Lack of awareness of symptoms was significantly correlated with all five symptom factors. Lack of awareness of the illness and its social consequences was only correlated with the positive dimension. Lack of awareness of achieved effects of medication was correlated with the autistic preoccupation factor. There was no correlation between current misattributions for symptoms and PANSS factors. We conclude that poor insight is a common feature of schizophrenia and has a complex relationship to other symptoms of the illness. Our results suggest that (1) unawareness of symptoms is related to severity of illness; (2) insight into illness and its social consequences is more closely tied to positive symptoms than other aspects of insight; and (3) insight into the effects of medication is more closely related to cognitive impairment. Treatment studies that measure insight could answer the question of whether these deficits in awareness improve along with positive and cognitive symptoms.

PMID:
14671732
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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