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Vol. 40, No. 4, 2007
Issue release date: May 2007
Psychopathology 2007;40:236–241

The Differentiation between ‘Lack of Insight’ and ‘Dysfunctional Health Beliefs’ in Schizophrenia

Linden M. · Godemann F.
aResearch Group Psychosomatic Rehabilitation at the Charité, University Medicine Berlin and the Rehabilitation Centre Seehof, Teltow/Berlin, and bDepartment of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at the Charité, University Medicine Berlin and cDepartment of Psychiatry, St. Joseph Hospital, Berlin, Germany

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Background: ‘Lack of insight’ into one’s own illness is a frequent symptom in schizophrenic disorders. ‘Health beliefs’ are psychological explanations of one’s own health status and are held by all individuals. The question is how they relate to each other. Methods: Lack of insight (according to the definition of the AMDP System) and health beliefs (measured with the Illness Concept Scale) were assessed in 364 schizophrenic outpatients who participated in a study on neuroleptic long-term treatment. Results: ‘Insight into illness’ and ‘health beliefs’ are independent of each other. Insight is related to the current psychopathological status as measured by the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale, whereas health beliefs are related to personal life experiences. Lack of insight and dysfunctional health beliefs are both associated with patient noncompliance. Conclusion: Poor insight and dysfunctional health beliefs are separate clinical phenomena. Making this distinction is important for guiding research and patient care.

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