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Clinical and Cognitive Insight in Pathological Anxiety: Relationship to Symptoms and Cognitive Factors

Abstract

Although insight is widely studied in some disorders, research on insight in anxiety is limited. This study investigates clinical and cognitive insight and their relationship to symptoms and cognitive factors. A total of 175 participants with high trait anxiety completed an online self-reported measures and a reasoning task. No significant correlations between clinical and cognitive insight were found, suggesting the two constructs are distinct. Impaired clinical insight was significantly associated with reduced reports of symptoms, suggesting they are less likely to recognize that they have a problem. Impaired clinical insight was positively associated with negative metacognitive beliefs, suggesting they are likely to use unhelpful cognitions. Overall cognitive insight and self-reflection were positively associated with negative metacognition, suggesting that these individuals are more likely to have unhelpful metacognitive beliefs. Future research needs to explore the different constructs of insight and their relation to psychopathology and treatment outcomes in anxiety disorders.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Although we did not advance any hypothesis regarding the MCQ-30 subscales, when conducting the analyses, we thought it is important to examine the MCQ-30 subscales too. This is because the current study is the first to examine insight and its relationship with metacognition in individuals with anxiety symptoms.

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Funding

Preparation of this manuscript was supported by the Israel Science Foundation (grant# 1698/15) to Jonathan D. Huppert and the Sam and Helen Beber Chair of Clinical Psychology, Department of Psychology, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel.

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Correspondence to Asala Halaj.

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Halaj, A., Huppert, J.D. Clinical and Cognitive Insight in Pathological Anxiety: Relationship to Symptoms and Cognitive Factors. J Cogn Ther 14, 671–686 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s41811-021-00116-8

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Keywords

  • Clinical insight
  • Cognitive insight
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Cognitive factors