BACKGROUND: Although it has been suggested that disturbances in emotion experience and regulation play a central role in the aetiology and psychopathology of schizophrenia spectrum disorders, the phenomenology of emotion experience in schizophrenia remains under-researched. SAMPLING AND METHODS: In-depth interviews were conducted twice with each of the 20 participants (firstly at admission and secondly 6 months later). Data collection and analysis were guided by the principles of phenomenological study of lived experience. RESULTS: The emotion experiences described by our participants vary greatly in both quality and intensity, but appear to have a common phenomenology. Anxiety is reported as the basic emotion which buffers, transforms and sometimes supplants all others. Emotions in general are experienced as foreign, unstable and perturbing, thereby contributing greatly to feelings of ambivalence, perplexity and an unstable sense of self in general. CONCLUSIONS: The findings of this study have important therapeutic and theoretical implications because they suggest that emotion experiences in schizophrenia spectrum disorders may underlie a wide range of psychopathological phenomena in both the cognitive and social functioning domains. Due to the relatively small sample size and its selection from psychotherapeutic units, the results may not be generalizable to all schizophrenia patients.
Psychopathology, 2014, Vol 47, Issue 4, p. 252-260
Adolescent; Affect; Anxiety; Child; Cognition; Emotions; Female; Humans; Interviews as Topic; Male; Psychology, Social; Psychotic Disorders; Young Adult; Journal Article