The association between insight and symptoms in bipolar inpatients: an Italian prospective study

Eur Psychiatry. 2012 Nov;27(8):619-24. doi: 10.1016/j.eurpsy.2011.09.002. Epub 2011 Nov 30.


Objective: To evaluate potential differences in insight among bipolar manic, mixed and bipolar depressed inpatients and assess the role of clinical and demographic characteristics as possible predictors.

Method: One hundred and twenty consecutive inpatients divided into three diagnostic groups were studied on admission (T0), at discharge (T1) and at 18weeks after hospitalization (T2). The young mania rating scale (YMRS), the Hamilton rating scale for depression (HAMD) and the scale to assess unawareness of mental disorder (SUMD) were used.

Results: Patients with mixed mania showed highest scores on the SUMD than patients with mania or bipolar depression. It was found a significant relationship between improvements in mania and in the insight. The level of insight at baseline was the only predictor of awareness in social consequences, moreover clinical and demographic characteristics were predictors of insight into mental illness. For what concerns insight about therapy benefits it was influenced by level of mania at baseline.

Conclusion: The three general dimensions of insight revealed significant differences among the three groups. Regression models suggest that insight is a multidimensional concept in which some aspects are state-related, associated with psychopathology, whereas others are trait-like qualities, not directly associated with symptoms and predicted only by level at baseline.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Awareness / physiology*
  • Bipolar Disorder / classification
  • Bipolar Disorder / diagnosis
  • Bipolar Disorder / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inpatients
  • Italy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Regression Analysis
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Time Factors