Patients with schizophrenia are often characterized as lacking insight or awareness into their illness and symptoms, yet despite considerable research, we still lack a full understanding of the factors involved in causing poor awareness. Within schizophrenia, there has been shown to be a fractionation across dimensions of awareness into mental illness: of being ill, of symptoms, and of treatment compliance. Recently, attention has turned to evidence of a fractionation between awareness of illness and of cognitive impairments and functioning. The current study investigated the degree of fractionation across a broad range of domains of function in schizophrenia and how each domain may be associated with neuropsychological functioning, clinical, mood, and demographic variables. Thirty-one mostly chronic stable patients with schizophrenia completed a battery of neuropsychological tests and measures of psychopathology, including mood. Cognitive insight and awareness of illness, symptoms, memory, and behavioral functioning were also measured. Insight and awareness were assessed using a combination of semistructured interview, observer-rated, self-rated, and objective measures, and included measures of the discrepancy between carer and self-ratings of impairment. Results revealed that awareness of functioning in each domain was largely independent and that awareness in each domain was predicted by different factors. Insight into symptoms was relatively poor while insight into cognitive deficits was preserved. Relative to neuropsychological variables, cognitive insight, comprising self-certainty and self-reflexivity, was a greater predictor of awareness. In conclusion, awareness is multiply fractionated and multiply determined. Therapeutic interventions could, therefore, produce beneficial changes within specific domains of awareness.
|Number of pages||12|
|Publication status||Published - 17 Sep 2010|