Metacognition and schizophrenia: the capacity for self-reflectivity as a predictor for prospective assessments of work performance over six months

Schizophr Res. 2010 Sep;122(1-3):124-30. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2009.04.024. Epub 2009 May 19.


Research has indicated that many with schizophrenia experience deficits in metacognitive capacity, defined as impairments in the ability to think about thinking. These difficulties are related to, but not reducible to symptoms and have been hypothesized to function as an independent impediment to psychosocial function. To explore the possibility that deficits in one domain of metacognition, self-reflectivity, are a barrier to effective work function, 56 participants with schizophrenia were categorized into three groups according to their capacity for self reflection based on an interview conducted prior to accepting a job placement. Blind ratings of work performance of these three groups over the next six months were then compared. Results of repeated measures ANOVA revealed that the group rated as having the highest level of metacognition, that is, able to see that their conclusions are subjective and fallible, had higher ratings of work performance over time than groups with medium and low levels of self reflectivity. These findings were found to persist even when impairment on a test of executive function was controlled for statistically. Results are interpreted as consistent with emerging models that deficits in metacognition may be key features of severe mental illness which affect function. Clinical and theoretic implications are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Awareness / physiology*
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology*
  • Cognition Disorders / rehabilitation
  • Executive Function / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interview, Psychological
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Prospective Studies
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Schizophrenia / complications*
  • Schizophrenia / rehabilitation
  • Self Concept*