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Metacognitive Capacity as a Predictor of Insight in First-Episode Psychosis

Vohs, Jenifer L. PhD*†‡; Lysaker, Paul H. PhD; Liffick, Emily MD*†‡∥; Francis, Michael M. MD*†‡∥; Leonhardt, Bethany L. PsyD*†; James, Alison MS; Buck, Kelly D. RN§; Hamm, Jay A. PsyD; Minor, Kyle S. PhD#; Mehdiyoun, Nikki MA*†‡; Breier, Alan MD*†‡∥

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: May 2015 - Volume 203 - Issue 5 - p 372–378
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0000000000000291
Original Articles

Impaired insight is common in the first episode of psychosis (FEP). Although considerable research has examined the factors that are associated with impaired insight in chronic psychosis, less is known about the factors that underlie and sustain poor insight in FEP. Impaired metacognition, or the ability to form integrated representations of self and others, is a promising potential contributor to poor insight in FEP. To explore this possibility, the authors assessed insight and metacognition in 40 individuals with FEP and then examined the relationship between these areas and social cognition domains, neurocognitive domains, and psychotic symptoms. Correlation analyses revealed that improved insight was associated with higher metacognition, better vocabulary and Theory of Mind scores, and fewer symptoms. The domain of metacognitive mastery also predicted clinical insight. Results support the need to develop an integrative therapeutic approach focused on improving metacognition, hence addressing poor insight in FEP.

*Department of Psychiatry, Indiana University School of Medicine; †Prevention and Recovery Center for Early Psychosis, Midtown Community Mental Health Centers, Eskenazi Hospital; ‡Larue D. Carter Memorial Hospital, IU Psychotic Disorders Research Program; §Roudebush VA Medical Hospital; ∥Midtown Community Mental Health Centers, Eskenazi Hospital, Indianapolis; ¶Department of Psychology, Indiana State University, Terre Haute; and #Department of Psychology, Indiana University—Purdue University Indianapolis, Indianapolis, IN.

Send reprint requests to Jenifer L. Vohs, PhD, Larue D. Carter Memorial Hospital, 2601 Cold Springs Rd, Indianapolis, IN 46222. E-mail:

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