Insight, personality, and symptoms among individuals with psychosis: Cross-sectional and longitudinal relationships


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Background: Reports on the relationship between clinical insight and psychotic symptoms have shown inconsistent results, and the association between clinical insight and personality has rarely been addressed. The aim of this study was to examine whether personality is correlated cross-sectionally with insight level, and longitudinally with change in insight, beyond symptoms. Methods: Participants were a sub-sample of the Dutch Genetic Risk and Outcome of Psychosis (GROUP) project. Two hundred and eleven participants diagnosed with non-affective psychotic disorders took part in the cross-sectional part of the study, of whom 136 took part in the three-year follow-up assessment. They were administered with self-report Birchwood insight scale and NEO-Five Factor Inventory, and clinicians assessed them according to PANSS and CDS symptoms scales. Results: Cross-sectional analysis showed baseline self-report insight was positively related to neuroticism and agreeableness and negatively related to extraversion. Longitudinal analysis showed change in level of self-reported insight was predicted by baseline-insight and change in symptoms of disorganization. Personality factors did not predict insight change (as measured either by self-report or by clinician assessment). Discussion: The cross-sectional findings showed self-report insight (as opposed to clinician-rated) is associated with personality traits, suggesting negative affect is related to higher level of insight and that having insight may be influenced by the wish to comply with views of professionals, or a tendency to cover up problems. The longitudinal findings imply that not personality but change in severity of symptoms of disorganization, and possibly other variables, predicts change in insight.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243-250
Number of pages8
JournalSchizophrenia Research
StatePublished - Aug 2020

Bibliographical note

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© 2020 Elsevier B.V.


  • Depression
  • Insight
  • Personality
  • Psychosis
  • Symptoms


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