Correlates of insight in first episode psychosis

Matcheri S. Keshavan, Jonathan Rabinowitz, Goedele Desmedt, Phillip D. Harvey, Nina Schooler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

146 Scopus citations


Impaired insight is common in schizophrenia and may be related to poor treatment adherence. Few studies have examined the clinical and neurocognitive correlates of insight in early schizophrenia. Early course schizophrenia, schizoaffective, and schizophreniform disorder patients (n=535) were studied. The Positive and Negative Symptom Scale (PANSS) was used to assess psychopathology, and a broad range of neuropsychological functions was assessed. Using hierarchical stepwise multiple regression analyses, we examined the association of clinical, neurocognitive, and premorbid measures with the level of insight. Impaired insight was associated with overall symptomatology, including positive, negative, and general psychopathology and with deficits in cognitive functioning. In descending order of robustness, the significant variables were PANSS general psychopathology (p<0.0001), Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (p<0.0004), Clinical Global Impression (p<0.005), PANSS positive (p<0.007), and premorbid adjustment - general subscale (p=0.02). Among the PANSS general psychopathology items, unusual thought content was most robustly associated with impaired insight (p<0.00000). Insight impairment is very common in early schizophrenia, and appears to be associated with a broad range of psychopathology and deficits in multiple cognitive domains. These observations suggest that deficits in insight may be related to a generalized dysfunction of neural networks involved in memory, learning, and executive functions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)187-194
Number of pages8
JournalSchizophrenia Research
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Oct 1 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • First episode
  • Insight
  • Psychosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Neurology
  • Psychology(all)


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