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BMC Psychiatry. 2006 May 31;6:26.

Insight dimensions and cognitive function in psychosis: a longitudinal study.

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  • 1Psychiatric Unit of Virgen del Camino Hospital, E-31008 Pamplona, Spain.



It has been reported that lack of insight is significantly associated with cognitive disturbance in schizophrenia. This study examines the longitudinal relationships between insight dimensions and cognitive performance in psychosis.


Participants were 75 consecutively admitted inpatients with schizophrenia, affective disorder with psychotic symptoms or schizoaffective disorder. Assessments were conducted at two time points during the study: at the time of hospital discharge after an acute psychotic episode and at a follow-up time that occurred more than 6 months after discharge. A multidimensional approach of insight was chosen and three instruments for its assessment were used: the Scale to Assess Unawareness of Mental Disorder (SUMD), three items concerning insight on the Assessment and Documentation in Psychopathology (AMDP) system and the Insight and Treatment Attitudes Questionnaire. The neuropsychological battery included a wide range of tests that assessed global cognitive function, attention, memory, and executive functions.


After conducting adequate statistical correction to avoid Type I bias, insight dimensions and cognitive performance were not found to be significantly associated at cross-sectional and longitudinal assessments. In addition, baseline cognitive performance did not explain changes in insight dimensions at follow-up. Similar results were found in the subset of patients with schizophrenia (n = 37). The possibility of a Type II error might have increased due to sample attrition at follow-up.


These results suggest that lack of insight dimensions and cognitive functioning may be unrelated phenomena in psychosis.

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