Cognitive deficit awareness in schizophrenia: absent, intact, or somewhere in-between?

Ryan Balzan, Aaron Neaves, Linley Denson, Dennis Liu, Cherrie Galletly

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    22 Citations (Scopus)


    Introduction. Cognitive impairment is a pervasive feature of schizophrenia, and is a major determinant of the functional disability that is characteristic of the disorder. However, research investigating whether patients with schizophrenia show a deficit awareness remains unclear. The present study aimed to replicate and extend previous research comparing subjective and objective measures of cognition.Methods. Thirty patients with a diagnosis of schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder were administered the subjectively assessed Schizophrenia Cognitive Rating Scale (SCoRS) and the objective Brief Assessment of Cognition in Schizophrenia (BACS), which each assess overall global functioning and four specific neurocognitive domains (i.e., Verbal Memory, Working Memory, Processing Speed, and Reasoning and Problem Solving). Because deficit awareness may influence the likelihood of patients engaging in treatments designed to improve cognitive functioning, patients' attitudes towards such therapies were also contrasted with these subjective and objective measures of cognitive functioning.Results. Patients' subjective appraisals did not significantly correlate with the objective neuropsychological assessments for global functioning or any specific neurocognitive domains. However, patients accurately deduced that their memory domains were more impaired than the other domains, and there was a trend for patients to exaggerate their Reasoning and Problem Solving deficits. This suggests that patients show some level of deficit awareness, when overestimating "deficits" for domains that are not impaired. Finally subjective, but not objective, measures of cognitive functioning correlated significantly with willingness to participate in cognitive-enhancing therapies.Conclusions. These results suggest that although patients' perceptions of their cognitive function are no substitute for objective neuropsychological test data, patients do possess a level of deficit awareness which may, in turn, influence willingness to participate in interventions such as cognitive rehabilitation.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)471-484
    Number of pages14
    JournalCognitive Neuropsychiatry
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2014


    • BACS
    • cognitive functioning
    • cognitive remediation
    • deficit awareness
    • SCoRS


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