Metacognition amidst narratives of self and illness in schizophrenia: associations with neurocognition, symptoms, insight and quality of life


Paul Lysaker PhD, Day Hospital 116H, 1481 West 10th Street, Roudebush VA Medical Center, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA.


Objective:  Impairments in laboratory tasks of metacognition appear to be associated with symptoms, functioning, and neurocognition in schizophrenia. We sought to replicate these results in a study of metacognition within personal narratives of self and illness.

Method:  Narratives of 61 men with schizophrenia were rated using the Metacognition Assessment Scale and correlated with concurrent assessment of symptoms, quality of life, neurocognition and insight.

Results:  Controlling for age and education, understanding of one's own mind was linked with better neurocognition across multiple domains, and lesser emotional withdrawal. Greater understanding of other's mind was linked with better verbal memory and less emotional withdrawal. Greater metacognition in the context of purposeful problem solving was associated with better verbal memory, insight and social function, and less emotional withdrawal and paranoia.

Conclusion:  Deficits in metacognition within the narratives of persons with schizophrenia are linked with symptoms, quality of life, neurocognition and poorer awareness of illness.