Lack of relationship between psychological denial and unawareness of illness in schizophrenia-spectrum disorders

Carrie L. Kruck, Laura A. Flashman, Robert M. Roth, Nancy S. Koven, Thomas W. McAllister, Andrew Saykin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Numerous theories have been proposed to explain the unawareness of illness that is commonly seen in schizophrenia-spectrum disorders, including the theory that unawareness is the result of a psychological denial mechanism used to mitigate the emotional consequences of having a psychiatric illness. The present study was an attempt to determine whether increased denial (in the form of self-deception) is associated with impaired awareness, consistent with the denial theory. Participants included 40 patients with schizophrenia-spectrum disorders and 25 healthy comparison participants. Patients' levels of awareness and symptom attribution were assessed through interview, and all participants completed self-report questionnaires measuring mood symptoms as well as their use of self-deception. Awareness of negative symptoms was associated with increased depression. However, self-deception was not significantly correlated with awareness measures. When patients were divided on the basis of their awareness and attribution scores, no group differences emerged regarding use of self-deception. The patient group and the healthy comparison group did not differ in their use of self-deception. The current results do not support the psychological denial theory of unawareness of illness in schizophrenia-spectrum disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-38
Number of pages6
JournalPsychiatry Research
Volume169
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 30 2009

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Deception
Schizophrenia
Psychology
Psychological Theory
Self Report
Psychiatry
Healthy Volunteers
Denial (Psychology)
Interviews
Depression

Keywords

  • Awareness
  • Deception
  • Denial
  • Depression
  • Insight
  • Schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

Cite this

Lack of relationship between psychological denial and unawareness of illness in schizophrenia-spectrum disorders. / Kruck, Carrie L.; Flashman, Laura A.; Roth, Robert M.; Koven, Nancy S.; McAllister, Thomas W.; Saykin, Andrew.

In: Psychiatry Research, Vol. 169, No. 1, 30.08.2009, p. 33-38.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Kruck, Carrie L. ; Flashman, Laura A. ; Roth, Robert M. ; Koven, Nancy S. ; McAllister, Thomas W. ; Saykin, Andrew. / Lack of relationship between psychological denial and unawareness of illness in schizophrenia-spectrum disorders. In: Psychiatry Research. 2009 ; Vol. 169, No. 1. pp. 33-38.
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