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Measuring illness insight in patients with alcohol-related cognitive dysfunction using the Q8 questionnaire: a validation study

Authors Walvoort S, Van der Heijden P, Kessels R, Egger J

Received 17 January 2016

Accepted for publication 7 March 2016

Published 1 July 2016 Volume 2016:12 Pages 1609—1615


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Roger Pinder

Serge JW Walvoort,1–3 Paul T van der Heijden,3,4 Roy PC Kessels,1,2,5 Jos IM Egger1–3,6

1Centre of Excellence for Korsakoff and Alcohol-Related Cognitive Disorders, Vincent van Gogh Institute for Psychiatry, Venray, 2Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, 3Behavioural Science Institute, Radboud University, Nijmegen, 4Reinier van Arkel Mental Health Institute, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, 5Department of Medical Psychology, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, 6Centre of Excellence for Neuropsychiatry, Vincent van Gogh Institute for Psychiatry, Venray, the Netherlands

Aim: Impaired illness insight may hamper treatment outcome in patients with alcohol-related cognitive deficits. In this study, a short questionnaire for the assessment of illness insight (eg, the Q8) was investigated in patients with Korsakoff’s syndrome (KS) and in alcohol use disorder (AUD) patients with mild neurocognitive deficits.
Methods: First, reliability coefficients were computed and internal structure was investigated. Then, comparisons were made between patients with KS and patients with AUD. Furthermore, correlations with the Dysexecutive Questionnaire (DEX) were investigated. Finally, Q8 total scores were correlated with neuropsychological tests for processing speed, memory, and executive function.
Results: Internal consistency of the Q8 was acceptable (ie, Cronbach’s α =0.73). The Q8 items represent one factor, and scores differ significantly between AUD and KS patients. The Q8 total score, related to the DEX discrepancy score and scores on neuropsychological tests as was hypothesized, indicates that a higher degree of illness insight is associated with a higher level of cognitive functioning.
Conclusion: The Q8 is a short, valid, and easy-to-administer questionnaire to reliably assess illness insight in patients with moderate-to-severe alcohol-related cognitive dysfunction.

Keywords: illness insight, anosognosia, alcohol use disorder, Korsakoff’s syndrome, cognition, neuropsychological assessment

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