The Phenomenology of Anomalous World Experience in Schizophrenia: A Qualitative Study

Elizabeth Pienkos, Steven Silverstein, Louis Sass

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


This current study is a pilot project designed to clarify changes in the lived world among people with diagnoses within the schizophrenia spectrum. The Examination of Anomalous World Experience (eawe) was used to interview ten participants with schizophrenia spectrum disorders (sz) and a comparison group of three participants with major depressive disorder (dep). Interviews were analyzed using the descriptive phenomenological method. This analysis revealed two complementary forms of experience unique to sz participants: Destabilization, the experience that reality and the intersubjective world are less comprehensible, less stable, and generally less real; and Subjectivization, the dominance of one's internal, subjective experiences in the perception or interpretation of the lived world. Persons with depressive disorders, by contrast, did not experience disruptions of the reality or independence of the world or any significant disruptions of appearance or meaning. These results are consistent with contemporary and classic phenomenological views on anomalous world experience in schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)188-213
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Phenomenological Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychology (miscellaneous)


  • lived world
  • phenomenology
  • psychosis
  • qualitative research
  • schizophrenia

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