A study of poor insight in social anxiety disorder

Paula Vigne, Gabriela Bezerra de Menezes, Ben J. Harrison, Leonardo F. Fontenelle

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We investigated levels of insight among patients with Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) as compared to patients with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and evaluated whether levels of insight in SAD were related to specific sociodemographic and/or clinical features. Thirty-seven SAD patients and 51 OCD patients attending a tertiary obsessive-compulsive and anxiety disorders clinic were assessed with a sociodemographic and clinical questionnaire, a structured diagnostic interview, the Brown Assessment of Beliefs Scale (BABS), the Social Phobia Inventory (SPIN), the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), the Sheehan Disability Scale (SDS), and the Treatment Adherence Survey-patient version (TAS-P). According to the BABS, SAD patients exhibited insight levels that were as low as those exhibited by OCD patients, with up to 29.7% of them being described as "poor insight" SAD. Although poor insight SAD patients were more frequently married, less depressed and displayed a statistical trend towards greater rates of early drop-out from cognitive-behavioral therapy, their insight levels were not associated with other variables of interest, including sex, age, employment, age at onset, duration of illness, associated psychiatric disorders, SPIN and SDS scores. Patients with poor insight SAD might perceive their symptoms as being less distressful and thus report fewer depressive symptoms and high rates of treatment non-adherence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)556-561
Number of pages6
JournalPsychiatry Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Delusion
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Psychopathology
  • Psychosis
  • Social phobia

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