Schizophrenia and the sense of self

Schizophr Bull. 2014 Jan;40(1):161-8. doi: 10.1093/schbul/sbt121. Epub 2013 Aug 22.


Sense of self (SOS)--understood as the foundation upon which individuals experience their daily lives--has been increasingly investigated in schizophrenia. A disrupted SOS is thought to represent a platform for the experience of psychiatric symptoms, social cognitive deficits, and other abnormalities of consciousness. Few studies, however, have investigated the specificity of disrupted SOS to schizophrenia. The primary objective of the present study was to test the hypothesis that SOS is deficient in schizophrenia patients compared to both nonpsychiatric controls and patients with psychotic bipolar disorder. Using select scales from the Assessment of Self Descriptions, the present study assessed SOS from spontaneous narratives provided by schizophrenia patients (N = 50), bipolar patients with psychotic features (N = 17), and nonpsychiatric controls (N = 24). Our findings indicate that facets of SOS-in particular, certain aspects of agency and relatedness to others-are deficient in schizophrenia compared to nonpsychiatric controls and bipolar patients with psychotic features, even when overall level of functioning and psychiatric symptoms are accounted for. Implications of these results are discussed.

Keywords: language; narrative; phenomenology; self.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bipolar Disorder / physiopathology*
  • Ego
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Schizophrenia / physiopathology*
  • Schizophrenic Psychology*
  • Self Concept*
  • Self-Assessment*