Untangling the complex relationships between symptoms of schizophrenia and emotion dynamics in daily life

findings from an experience sampling pilot study

Stefan Westermann*, Sarah Grezellschak, Zita Oravecz, Steffen Moritz, Thies Lüdtke, Andreas Jansen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)


The unfolding of emotions over time (i.e., emotion dynamics) has been characterized by baseline, intraindividual variability and regulatory tendency (return time to baseline after deflection). Mounting evidence suggests that compared to healthy individuals, individuals with schizophrenia are characterized by a more negatively valenced baseline and a higher intraindividual variability. However, the regulatory tendency has not been investigated in schizophrenia so far. We hypothesize that the severity of positive symptoms is linked to increased emotional variability and that the severity of negative symptoms is associated with an increased regulatory tendency. Fifteen individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia took part in this pilot experience sampling study and reported their emotional state ten times a day. The dynamics of valence and arousal and their relationship with symptomatology were estimated with the DynAffect model. Regulatory tendency in valence and arousal was positively associated with negative symptom severity and negatively associated with positive symptom severity. However, the severity of positive symptoms was not credibly associated with the variability of valence. The study only partly corroborates findings on increased stress reactivity in schizophrenia, which might be due to the small sample size. However, results suggest that negative symptoms could stem from over-regulated emotion dynamics, which may impede goal-directed behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)514-518
Number of pages5
JournalPsychiatry Research
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • affect
  • dynamic
  • emotion
  • emotion regulation
  • negative symptoms
  • positive symptoms
  • schizophrenia

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