Splitting of Associative Threads: The Expression of Schizotypal Ambivalence in Daily Life

Chris J. Burgin, Charlotte A. Chun, Leslie E. Horton, Neus Barrantes-Vidal, Thomas R. Kwapil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ambivalence, which refers to the simultaneous experience of contradictory emotions and cognitions, has a longstanding and important role in the study of both normal and pathological functioning. Bleuler and Meehl viewed ambivalence as a central component of schizophrenic, and more broadly schizotypic, psychopathology. Ambivalence is associated with questionnaire and interview measures of schizotypic symptoms and impairment. However, its real-world expression has not been explored. The present study examined the expression of ambivalence, as assessed by the Schizotypal Ambivalence Scale, in daily life using experience sampling methodology. Specifically, it examined the association of ambivalence with affect, daily activities, and social and cognitive functioning in the moment. A sample of 430 male and female young adults completed an average of 42 daily life assessments during a one-week period. Ambivalence predicted diminished positive affect, increased negative affect, cognitive impairment, and social impairment. Furthermore, ambivalence moderated the effects of social closeness, emotional expression, and activity enjoyment on affect and functioning in daily life. Specifically, ambivalence was associated with affective dysregulation and greater reactivity to social stress. The present findings provided the first examination of the expression of ambivalence in daily life and support its inclusion as a component of schizophrenia-spectrum psychopathology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)349-357
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 16 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Daily life
  • Experience sampling methodology
  • Schizophrenia
  • Schizotypal ambivalence
  • Schizotypy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology


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