Dimensions of insight in schizophrenia: Exploratory factor analysis of items from multiple self- and interviewer-rated measures of insight

Schizophr Res. 2018 Sep;199:319-325. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2018.02.055. Epub 2018 Mar 10.


Objective: Insight in schizophrenia is regarded as a multidimensional construct that comprises aspects such as awareness of the disorder and recognition of the need for treatment. The proposed number of underlying dimensions of insight is variable in the literature. In an effort to identify a range of existing dimensions of insight, we conducted a factor analysis on combined items from multiple measures of insight.

Method: We recruited 165 participants with enduring schizophrenia (treated for >3years). Exploratory factor analysis was conducted on itemized scores from two interviewer-rated measures of insight: the Schedule for the Assessment of Insight-Expanded and the abbreviated Scale to assess Unawareness of Mental Disorder; and two self-report measures: the Birchwood Insight Scale and the Beck Cognitive Insight Scale.

Results: A five-factor solution was selected as the best-fitting model, with the following dimensions of insight: 1) awareness of illness and the need for treatment; 2) awareness and attribution of symptoms and consequences; 3) self-certainty; 4) self-reflectiveness for objectivity and fallibility; and 5) self-reflectiveness for errors in reasoning and openness to feedback.

Conclusions: Insight in schizophrenia is a multidimensional construct comprised of distinct clinical and cognitive domains of awareness. Multiple measures of insight, both clinician- and self-rated, are needed to capture all of the existing dimensions of insight. Future exploration of associations between the various dimensions and their potential determinants will facilitate the development of clinically useful models of insight and effective interventions to improve outcome.

Keywords: Awareness of illness; Clinical insight; Cognitive insight; Factor analysis; Latent variable model; Schizophrenia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Awareness
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diagnostic Self Evaluation*
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Interview, Psychological
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Schizophrenia / diagnosis*
  • Schizophrenic Psychology*
  • Self Report
  • Thinking
  • Young Adult

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