Active Leisure in the Emotional Experience of People With Schizophrenia


  • Bryan P. McCormick
  • Gretchen Snethen
  • Rachel L. Smith
  • Paul H. Lysaker


Schizophrenia, physical activity, positive emotion, negative emotion


There has been limited attention to subjective well-being (SWB) among people with schizophrenia with even less attention to the emotional element of SWB. The purpose of this study was to identify if leisure activity was significantly associated with emotional experience among people with schizophrenia spectrum disorders (SSD). Forty-five adults with SSD were recruited from two psychiatric day-treatment programs for participation in this study. Experience sampling method (ESM) was used to collect data on self-reported activities that were subsequently coded into active/sedentary and leisure/non-leisure. ESM was also used to collect self-reported positive and negative emotional experience occurring simultaneously with activities. Hierarchical linear modeling was used to analyze the relationship of activity (i.e., active/sedentary, leisure/non-leisure) to positive and negative emotional experience. Findings indicated that the majority of activity was sedentary and a large majority of leisure activity was sedentary. Physically active leisure was significantly associated with lower negative emotion; however, no association was found with activity and positive emotion. Although the findings of this study were not uniformly supportive, there is reason to advocate for the inclusion of leisure-time physical activity in psychiatric rehabilitation for people with SSD.