British Journal of Clinical Psychology

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Volume 45 Issue 3 (September 2006), Pages 279-438

The role of knowledge and motivation in symptom identification accuracy among schizophrenic patients: Application of signal detection theory (pages 427-436)

Objective Many people with schizophrenia have poor awareness of their symptoms, a problem that may result from lack of knowledge about their illness and/or unwillingness to acknowledge it. The present study assessed the joint influence of lack of knowledge and motivated denial in schizophrenic patients' low symptom awareness.

Method Schizophrenic patients (N=85) and normal control participants (N=35) identified psychotic symptoms and general stress symptoms in a symptom checklist. The signal detection theory was applied to assess levels of sensitivity (which would be knowledge‐mediated) and judgment biases (which would probably be motivated).

Results Compared with normal control participants, schizophrenic patients had lower sensitivity and greater aversion to classify a symptom as a psychotic symptom.

Conclusions These findings suggest that both lack of knowledge and motivated denial are involved in schizophrenic patients' low symptom awareness.

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