Document Type


Publication Date



Maine Medical Center, Medical Education, Maine Medical Center Research Institute

MeSH Headings

Psychotic Disorders, Psychiatric Status Rating Scales


Purpose: Although there is recent skepticism about whether affect dynamics offer added value over mean levels of negative affect in differentiating between individuals, there has been little research examining the relationship of affect variability (AV) and psychotic symptoms within individuals (day-to-day). The purpose of these analyses was to explore the relationship of affect dynamics to psychotic experiences in individuals at clinical high risk (CHR) for psychosis or within five years of the onset of a psychotic disorder (PSY).

Methods: We collected experience-sampling data from CHR and PSY patients ages 15-25. Up to 6 times per day, participants rated positive and negative emotions and attenuated psychotic symptoms (PS) on a 7-point Likert scale from “Not at all” to “Very much”. AV was calculated with moment-to-moment mean squared successive differences (MSSD). We conducted multilevel linear regression to test the relationship of AV and PS averaged at the daily level.

Results: Preliminary analyses (n = 27, 13 male, m age = 19.9, sd = 2.4) suggest that daily negative AV is significantly associated with mean daily PS, even controlling for same day mean negative AV and PS on the previous day. Negative AV measured at the person level is associated with anxiety and bipolar disorder but not depressive or psychotic diagnoses.

Conclusions: Affect dynamics may offer incremental value over mean affect levels in understanding symptom trajectories during the early phases of psychotic disorders. We will present analyses of a larger sample and additional assessments of symptom dynamics.


2020 Costas T. Lambrew Research Retreat