Clinical insight and cognitive functioning as mediators in the relationships between symptoms of psychosis, depression, and suicide ideation in first-episode psychosis
Bornheimer, L.A., Cobia, D.J., Verdugo, J.L., Holzworth, J., & Smith, M.J.
First-episode psychosis (FEP) is a particularly high-risk period for suicide. Literature suggests poor cognitive functioning may serve as a protective factor, while investigations of clinical insight reveal a complex relationship with suicide outcomes. This study examined the mediating role of cognition and clinical insight in the relationships between positive and negative symptoms, depression, and subsequent suicide ideation among individuals in FEP. Data were obtained from the Recovery After an Initial Schizophrenia Episode project.
Participants (n = 404) included adolescents and adults in FEP between the ages of 15 and 40. Measurement utilized the Calgary Depression Rating Scale, Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale, and Brief Assessment of Cognition in Schizophrenia. Structural equation modeling was used to examine the mediation model. The
likelihood of experiencing suicide ideation was significantly decreased when working memory was stronger (b = − 0.034, SE = 0.02, OR = 0.967, p < .05), and significantly increased when clinical insight was stronger (b = 0.191, SE = 0.08, OR = 1.21, p < .01), positive symptoms were greater (b = 0.422, SE = 0.20, OR = 1.52, p < .05) and depressive symptoms were greater (b = 0.545, SE = 0.15, OR = 1.70, p < .001). Clinical insight and working memory functioned as mediators in the relationships between depression, positive symptoms, negative symptoms, and suicide ideation. Findings suggest it is essential that clinicians have awareness of insight being a risk factor for suicide ideation and balance therapeutic efforts to strengthen clinical insight and cognition in psychosocial treatments with suicide risk assessment and prevention methods.