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      Insight and Personal Narratives of Illness in Schizophrenia

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          Lessons from social psychology on discrediting psychiatric stigma.

          Advocacy, government, and public-service groups rely on a variety of strategies to diminish the impact of stigma on persons with severe mental illness. These strategies include protest, education, and promoting contact between the general public and persons with these disorders. The authors argue that social psychological research on ethnic minority and other group stereotypes should be considered when implementing these strategies. Such research indicates that (a) attempts to suppress stereotypes through protest can result in a rebound effect; (b) education programs may be limited because many stereotypes are resilient to change; and (c) contact is enhanced by a variety of factors, including equal status, cooperative interaction, and institutional support. Future directions for research and practice to reduce stigma toward persons with severe mental illness are discussed.
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            Awareness of illness in schizophrenia and schizoaffective and mood disorders.

            The literature on insight, or self-awareness, in schizophrenia suggests that this cognitive dimension may be of nosological value. Poor insight has descriptive validity at the phenomenological and neuropsychological levels of schizophrenia and has prognostic validity in terms of the prediction of the course of illness. The lack of empirical data on the diagnostic specificity of poor insight to schizophrenia and the previous use of insight measures with questionable reliability and validity have limited this interpretation. In the present study, we assessed insight into multiple aspects of mental disorder using a measure with demonstrated reliability and validity. A sample of 412 patients with psychotic and mood disorders coming from geographically diverse regions of the United States and one international site was studied. The main aims were to determine the prevalence of self-awareness deficits in patients in whom schizophrenia was diagnosed, to examine the relative severity of self-awareness deficits associated with schizophrenia compared with that of schizoaffective and mood disorders with and without psychosis, and to evaluate the clinical correlates of self-awareness in patients with schizophrenia. The results indicated that poor insight is a prevalent feature of schizophrenia. A variety of self-awareness deficits are more severe and pervasive in patients with schizophrenia than in patients with schizoaffective or major depressive disorders with or without psychosis and are associated with poorer psychosocial functioning. The results suggest that severe self-awareness deficits are a prevalent feature of schizophrenia, perhaps stemming from the neuropsychological dysfunction associated with the disorder, and are more common in schizophrenia than in other psychotic disorders.
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              Voicing the self: From information processing to dialogical interchange.

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Psychiatry: Interpersonal and Biological Processes
                Psychiatry: Interpersonal and Biological Processes
                Guilford Publications
                0033-2747
                September 2002
                September 2002
                : 65
                : 3
                : 197-206
                Article
                10.1521/psyc.65.3.197.20174
                6877a22a-a1fc-4f57-bf37-aae0c5daf742
                © 2002
                History

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