[Insight in schizophrenia: assessment of 31 patients with different scales].Encephale. 2008 Jan; 34(1):66-72.E
Insight is more than frequently altered in schizophrenia, rupture of treatment being one the most known consequences of this impairment. Two different types of scales can be used to assess consciousness: self-questionnaires directly filled-in by the patient or questionnaires assessed by a psychiatrist after an interview. AIM OF THE STUDIES: The goal of this study was first to assess insight in schizophrenic patients with these two different types of scales and then try to find a link between insight impairment and schizophrenic symptoms. The self-questionnaire was the Marks et al. Self Appraisal of Illness Questionnaire (SAIQ) [Schizophr Res 45 (2000) 203-11], 17 items finally giving four scores (consciousness of illness, consequences of schizophrenia, need for treatment and worrying about illness) plus a total score of insight. The other questionnaire was the Amador Scale for assessment of Unawareness of Mental Disease [Amador XF, Strauss DH. The scale to assess unawareness of mental disorder (SUMD). Columbia University and New-York State Psychiatric Institute;1990], consisting in an interview with a psychiatrist who finally assesses four dimensions (consciousness of illness, symptoms, need for treatment and consequences of illness) plus a total score. In addition to these scores, Amador's scale gives the opportunity to score attribution a patient gives to illness for his symptoms.
Thirty-one patients whose schizophrenia diagnosis had been previously made according to DSM-IV criteria were included. Half were outpatients, half inpatients. Drug prescriptions were controlled; all of the patients being medicated with an antipsychotic, a benzodiazepine and a sleep inducer. They were all assessed by the two scales previously mentioned and the Positive And Negative Syndrome Scale [Kay SR, Opler LA, Fiszbein A. Positive and negative syndrome scale. Traduction de Lepine JL. In: Guelfi JD, éditeur. Evaluation clinique standardisée, tome II. Castres : Editions médicales Pierre Fabre;1996].
Total scores of insight scales were significantly correlated (p<0.001). For each questionnaire, the four different scores were independent from each other (p<0.001). There was no correlation found between insight scales and schizophrenic symptoms intensity.
Considering symptom attribution, being unconscious of a symptom and being enable to attribute it to schizophrenia were linked, which could refer to Frith's theory of schizophrenia [Frith CD. Neuropsychologie de la schizophrénie. Psychiatrie ouverte. Paris: PUF;1996 (208p.)] and attribution impairment as a main dysfunction. The two different types of scales seem to be effective. The significant correlation between them suggests they assess the same dimension. This preliminary study will be followed by a validation study of the french translation of the SAIQ.