Self-insight and depressive symptoms: the causal relationship between them

  • M. Nakajima
  • Y. Tanno


Enhanced self-insight is considered as essential to psychological adjustment (Grant et al., 2002; Stein &Grant, 2014). Empirical research also show the strong negative association between self-insight and depressive symptoms (e.g. Grant et al., 2002; Silvia & Phillips, 2011), however, although previous research essentially assume the causal relationship that self-insight alleviates depressive symptoms, no empirical research have confirmed their actual causal relationship yet. Accordingly, the aim of present research was to examine the causal relationship by online longitudinal survey. In the survey, 230 Japanese participants answered a packet of questionnaires two times with an interval of four weeks that measured self-insight and depressive symptoms (male = 61, female = 169, mean age = 37.49, SD = 8.47). The results of structural equation modeling showed that the model assuming depressive symptoms at time 1 expect decreased self-insight at time 2 was more valid than the model assuming self-insight at time 1 expect decreased depressive symptoms at time 2 (AIC = 19.06, BIC = 50.00; AIC = 40.55, BIC = 71.50). This result suggest that increase of depressive symptoms impaired self-insight rather than self-insight alleviated depressive symptoms. Therefore, enhanced self-insight was possible to be impaired by increase of depressive symptoms that is caused by other factors. This finding indicates that it might be more important to consider how we can prevent decrease of self-insight associated with increased depressive symptoms than how we can proactively improve self-insight. Further investigations are required to verify our findings.
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