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Compr Psychiatry. 2005 Jul-Aug;46(4):284-90.

Insight into illness in schizophrenia.

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  • 1Brain Behavior Laboratory, Sha'ar Menashe Mental Health Center, Mobile Post Hefer 38814, Israel.


Lack of insight of patients with schizophrenia into various aspects of their illness and treatment is an important clinical issue. Poor insight has been reported to be associated with neurocognitive deficits, particularly in the frontal and parietal functions. The aim of this study was to examine relationships between insight and cognitive and emotional function in patients with schizophrenia. Thirty-five male forensic patients suffering from chronic schizophrenia participated. The Scale for the Assessment of Unawareness of Mental Disorder was used to assess insight. Neuropsychological function was assessed with a comprehensive battery of tests. Clinical state was also assessed. Of 35 patients, 18 (51%) believed that they had a mental disorder. A similar proportion reported awareness of a need for medication and correctly attributed symptoms to illness. Measures of insight showed significant associations with visual object learning, verbal working memory, and identification of facial emotions but not with measures of frontal lobe function. Poorer insight was associated with a higher occurrence of violent events. Our findings support an association between poor insight and cognitive impairment in patients with chronic schizophrenia but suggest that the relationship may not specifically involve frontal lobe dysfunction.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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