The Multiple Dimensions of Insight in Schizophrenia-Spectrum Disorders

Martino Belvederi Murri, Mario Amore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The concept of insight is used to indicate the propensity of patients with schizophrenia and other severe mental disorders to recognize their illness and engage in treatment. Thus, insight may have notable consequences for the ill individual: Those who lack insight are at higher risk of nonadherence to treatments, negative clinical outcomes, and worse community functioning. Although insight is an intuitive concept, its essence remains difficult to capture. However, many rating scales are available to aid assessment, both for clinical and research purposes. Insight cannot be reduced to a symptom, a psychological mechanism, or a neuropsychological function. It is likely to have dynamic relationships with all these dimensions and with responses to personal events and contextual factors. In particular, social consequences of mental illness and explanatory models that are alternative to the medical model may fundamentally shape insight and treatment choice. Moreover, the cultural or individual stigmatization of mental illness may turn the acquisition of insight into a painful event and increase the risk of depression. Clinicians need to carefully evaluate and promote insight through a personalized approach to aid patient process of care and personal growth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-283
Number of pages7
JournalSchizophrenia Bulletin
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 7 2019


  • adherence
  • depression
  • insight
  • schizophrenia
  • social cognition
  • stigma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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