Emotional determinants of life-space through GPS and ecological momentary assessment in schizophrenia: What gets people out of the house?

Emma M. Parrish, Colin A. Depp, Raeanne C. Moore, Philip D. Harvey, Tanya Mikhael, Jason Holden, Joel Swendsen, Eric Granholm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Previous research employing global positioning satellite (GPS) data and ecological momentary assessment (EMA) has shown a smaller life-space (distance traveled from home) was associated with poorer community functioning and more severe negative symptoms in people with schizophrenia. Momentary emotional experiences may influence how much time is spent outside of the home. We evaluated the associations between emotional experiences in relation to life-space among people with schizophrenia compared to healthy controls (HCs). Methods: 105 participants with schizophrenia and 76 HCs completed in-lab assessments of symptoms, cognition, and functioning. Participants completed EMA assessments of location and emotions seven times daily for seven days at stratified random intervals. GPS coordinates were collected 24 h a day over the 7-day study period. Analyses were performed at the momentary, day, and full week level using mixed effects models and Spearman correlations. Results: For HCs, greater happiness was associated with greater concurrent distance traveled away from home as measured by GPS. For participants with schizophrenia, greater anxiety was associated with greater distance traveled away from home and being outside of the home. Less happiness, but not anxiety, was also associated with greater negative symptoms, especially outside the home. Discussion: These findings suggest diminished positive emotion is associated with the experience of leaving the home in schizophrenia, but also suggest that anxiety may contribute to avoidance of out of home mobility. Interventions targeting both positive emotions and social anxiety may improve social functioning, and life-space may provide a useful outcome for functional rehabilitation interventions in schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-73
Number of pages7
JournalSchizophrenia Research
StatePublished - Oct 2020


  • Anxiety
  • Avoidance
  • Functioning
  • Motivation
  • Remote assessment
  • Serious mental illness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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