Chronic Schizophrenia Recruitment and Assessment Core

The primary function of the Chronic Schizophrenia Recruitment and Assessment Core is to recruit and clinically assess chronic schizophrenia patients and demographically comparable normal subjects for participation in studies of the Center. This Core screens, recruits and conducts diagnostic interview with the potential patient subjects and the normal comparison subjects. This Core also completes ratings of symptom severity and functional outcome for all chronic schizophrenia patients who participate in Center projects.

Findings

It is unclear whether insight into having a mental disorder deteriorates or improves over the course of schizophrenia. We compared levels of insight between the first-episode and chronic patients, and within a small subset of patients who also had insight data available at two earlier time points from participation in previous longitudinal studies (Subotnik 2006).These results indicate that that schizophrenia patients’ insight improved over time, but that most of the improvement occurred during the initial year of outpatient treatment. We then examined the associations between insight and measures of dual-task processing, episodic memory, social cognition, and emotion reactivity among the patients in the first-episode core and the chronic schizophrenia core (Subotnik 2007).Results suggest that the awareness of having a mental disorder shares some characteristics with understanding what other people are thinking and the reasons for their behaviors. Impairment in memory and attention resulted in difficulty in being aware of one’s own problems in these domains. The improvement seen over time might explain the attenuated relationships seen among the chronic schizophrenia patients.

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