The purpose of this study is to systematically investigate motivational engagement in schizophrenia using a neurobehavioral framework that distinguishes between wanting and liking. We will employ a novel (field-based) approach to Ecological Momentary Assessment, using a structured interview protocol administered by cell phone, to sample the everyday experiences of 60 schizophrenia patients and 60 healthy controls ages 21-50 in a cross-sectional design. This methodology will allow us to track individualized goals to their natural completion, without burdening participants with complicated assessment techniques. We will also use self-report and clinician-ratings, as well as two laboratory tasks, to further refine the construct of wanting into three components: 1) the ability to accurately compare affective experiences, 2) to hold on to that affective experience (but not engage in a motivated behavior), and 3) the ability to use an affective experience to engage in goal-directed behavior congruent with that experience. In addition, we will gather standard clinical and neurocognitive assessments on all study participants in order to obtain preliminary data for the next stage of this research, which will focus on the relationship of motivational processes to cognition and community outcomes. This study will result in a set of well-characterized measures of various aspects of motivation in schizophrenia, creating clear targets for future treatments of motivational deficits. Our overall aims are to 1) provide a clear picture of motivational impairment in schizophrenia, especially as it appears in daily life, 2) investigate specific subcomponents of the construct of wanting in schizophrenia, and 3) begin to examine the relationship between motivational impairment, cognitive impairment, and community outcome.

Public Health Relevance

The purpose of this study is to systematically measure motivation in individuals with schizophrenia using data from everyday life, performance on laboratory tasks, self-report responses, and clinician ratings. This study is important because it uses novel measures of motivation and will help to provide a clear understanding of specific motivational problems in schizophrenia, which may ultimately contribute to the development and evaluation of more effective treatments.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Exploratory/Developmental Grants (R21)
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Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-BBBP-L (03))
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Morris, Sarah E
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San Francisco State University
Schools of Arts and Sciences
San Francisco
United States
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Cooper, Shanna; Lavaysse, Lindsey M; Gard, David E (2015) Assessing motivation orientations in schizophrenia: Scale development and validation. Psychiatry Res 225:70-78
Gard, David E; Sanchez, Amy H; Starr, Jessica et al. (2014) Using self-determination theory to understand motivation deficits in schizophrenia: the 'why' of motivated behavior. Schizophr Res 156:217-22
Gard, David E; Sanchez, Amy H; Cooper, Kathryn et al. (2014) Do people with schizophrenia have difficulty anticipating pleasure, engaging in effortful behavior, or both? J Abnorm Psychol 123:771-82
Sanchez, Amy H; Lavaysse, Lindsey M; Starr, Jessica N et al. (2014) Daily life evidence of environment-incongruent emotion in schizophrenia. Psychiatry Res 220:89-95