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Emotion processes in schizophrenia: in relation with symptomatology and duration of illness

Şenyurt, Ahmet Yasin
The purpose of the present study was to examine the effects of positive and negative symptoms, and duration of illness on emotion processes; ability to understand emotion related cues, experience of emotion, and expression of emotion. A total of 46 schizophrenia patients from Ankara Oncology Hospital Psychiatry Clinic; 23 of them were diagnosed with schizophrenia for at least 10 years, and 23 of them were diagnosed for less than 10 years, participated in the study. Besides, a total of 23 non-clinical subjects; which were similar to the clinical group in terms of educational information, participated to the study. A video-clip which consists of scenes that elicited four types of emotions (fear, disgust, sadness, happiness) was presented to the participants. Understanding of emotion related cues and the experienced emotion were rated through self-report. Facial expressions of the participants were rated through their recorded faces by three psychologists, who were specifically trained for emotional facial expression rating. Symptomatology was assessed by Positive and Negative Symptom Scale (PANSS), and Calgary Depression Scale for schizophrenia patients. Presence of any psychopathology of healthy group was measured through Brief Symptom Inventory. Multivariate Analysis of Variance (MANOVA) revealed that chronic patients presented more understanding of context impairments than acute patients and non-clinical group. In addition to these findings, positive symptoms assessed by PANSS were found to be positively correlated with the understanding context impairment. Therefore, It was suggested that positive symptoms, such as hallucinations and delusions interfere with understanding context task. The results were discussed in the light of the literature and clinical and research implications of the study presented. Finally, necessity of using neurological, biological and cognitive assessment methods for further studies was suggested in order to understand deficits in emotional processes.