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Mental Health - Neuroscience - Non-Clinical Medicine

Trait and State Positive Emotional Experience in Schizophrenia: A Meta-Analysis
Published: Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Author: Chao Yan et al.

by Chao Yan, Yuan Cao, Yang Zhang, Li-Ling Song, Eric F. C. Cheung, Raymond C. K. Chan


Prior meta-analyses indicated that people with schizophrenia show impairment in trait hedonic capacity but retain their state hedonic experience (valence) in laboratory-based assessments. Little is known about what is the extent of differences for state positive emotional experience (especially arousal) between people with schizophrenia and healthy controls. It is also not clear whether negative symptoms and gender effect contribute to the variance of positive affect.

Methods and Findings

The current meta-analysis examined 21 studies assessing state arousal experience, 40 studies measuring state valence experience, and 47studies assessing trait hedonic capacity in schizophrenia. Patients with schizophrenia demonstrated significant impairment in trait hedonic capacity (Cohen’s d?=?0.81). However, patients and controls did not statistically differ in state hedonic (valence) as well as exciting (arousal) experience to positive stimuli (Cohen’s d?=?-0.24 to 0.06). They also reported experiencing relatively robust state aversion and calmness to positive stimuli compared with controls (Cohen’s d?=?0.75, 0.56, respectively). Negative symptoms and gender contributed to the variance of findings in positive affect, especially trait hedonic capacity in schizophrenia.


Our findings suggest that schizophrenia patients have no deficit in state positive emotional experience but impairment in “noncurrent” hedonic capacity, which may be mediated by negative symptoms and gender effect.