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Keywords:

  • schizophrenia;
  • lack of insight;
  • symptom unawareness;
  • dysphoria;
  • frontal lobe dysfunction

Objective:  Examine whether frontal lobe dysfunction or affective experiences correlates with lack of symptom awareness in schizophrenia.

Method:  A total of 122 consecutive adult schizophrenia outpatients were assessed cross-sectionally with standard rating scales of psychopathology and of insight, and underwent neuropsychological assessment with a battery of tests sensitive to frontal lobe dysfunction. Correlational analyses were used to determine relationships between variables.

Results:  About 62% of patients had at least partial awareness of symptoms. Anxiety correlated modestly with insight into the abnormal nature of positive and negative symptoms. No cognitive variable was significantly correlated with symptom awareness.

Conclusion:  The pathological nature of symptoms is better recognized by patients who experience dysphoric affect. Neither severity of psychotic symptoms nor frontal lobe cognitive deficits correlates to symptom awareness. Lack of insight, which can be partial for symptoms of the illness, might be a non-reducible symptom of schizophrenia.