Heterogeneity of emotional experience in schizophrenia: Trait affect profiles predict clinical presentation and functional outcome

Henry R. Cowan, Vijay A. Mittal, Daniel N. Allen, James M. Gold, Gregory P. Strauss*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The current study examined whether subgroups of individuals with schizophrenia could be identified based on their profiles of trait positive and negative emotional experience, and whether those subgroups differed in their symptom presentation and functional outcome. Participants included 192 outpatients diagnosed with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder (SZ) and 149 demographically matched healthy controls who completed the trait version of the Positive and Negative Affect Scale, as well as symptom and functional outcome assessments. Cluster analysis determined whether patients could be separated into meaningful subgroups based on their trait emotional experience profiles, and discriminant function analysis determined whether these groups were valid and adequately separated. Forty-two percent of the patients fell into an affectively normal cluster, whereas 28% and 30% fell into low positive affect (PA) and high negative affect (NA) clusters, respectively. These subgroups differed significantly on positive symptoms, negative symptoms, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders diagnoses, and functional outcomes. Trait emotional experience is heterogeneous in outpatients with psychotic disorders, and meaningful subgroups of patients with different profiles of PA and NA can be identified. These subgroups show meaningful differences in clinical presentation, which may necessitate different treatment approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)760-767
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of abnormal psychology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 2020


  • Emotion
  • Functional outcome
  • Negative symptoms
  • Positive symptoms
  • Psychosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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