Reappraising insight in psychosis: Multi-scale longitudinal study

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Abstract

Background

Many patients suffering from psychosis are unaware of their disorder and symptoms.

Aims

To investigate whether insight changes with time, and how it relates to patients' psychopathology, and to examine the correlations between insight scales in patients with psychoses.

Method

Seventy-five consecutively admitted in-patients with schizophrenia, affective disorder with psychotic symptoms, or schizoaffective disorder were examined after remission of an acute episode and at follow-up (>6 months). Three different scales were used to assess insight.

Results

To some extent, insight into past episodes improved over time in patients with psychosis, regardless of diagnosis. Few significant relationships between insight and psychopathology remained stable at follow-up. The higher the negative and disorganisation dimensions at baseline, the less did attitudes to treatment vary when tested at follow-up. No predictive value for variability of psychopathological dimensions was found for insight dimensions. The insight scales used were highly intercorrelated, suggesting that they measure the same construct.

Conclusions

Insight and psychopathology seem to be semi-independent domains.

Declaration of interest

Funded by the Spanish National Health Service (grant FIS 97/0480).

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