Background Schizophrenia spectrum disorders (SSD) are ranked among the leading causes of disabilities worldwide. Many people with SSD spend most of their daily time being inactive, and this is related to the severity of negative symptoms. Here, we present the 3-year DiAPAson project aimed at (1) evaluating the daily time use among patients with SSD living in Residential Facilities (RFs) compared to outpatients with SSD and to the general population (Study 1); (2) evaluating the quality of staff-patient relationships, its association with specific patient outcomes and the quality of care provided in RFs (Study 2); and (3) assessing daily activity patterns in residential patients, outpatients with SSD and healthy controls using real-time methodologies (Study 3). Methods Study 1 will include 300 patients with SSD living in RFs and 300 outpatients; data obtained in these clinical populations will be compared with normative data obtained by the National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT) in the national survey on daily time use. Time use assessments will consist of daily diaries asking participants to retrospectively report time spent in different activities. In Study 2, a series of questionnaires will be administered to 300 residential patients (recruited for Study 1) to evaluate the quality of care and staff-patient relationships, level of well-being and burnout of RFs' staff, and quality of RFs using a European standardized questionnaire (QuIRC-SA). In Study 3, the daily time use will be evaluated in a subgroup of 50 residential patients, 50 outpatients and 50 healthy controls using the Experience Sampling Method approach (participants will complete a brief questionnaire -about time use, mood and perceived energy- on a smartphone 8 times a day for 1 week) to compare retrospective and real-time reports. Moreover, their level of physical activity, sleep patterns, and energy expenditure will be monitored through a multi-sensor device. Discussion This project is highly innovative because it combines different types of assessments (i.e., retrospective and real-time reports; multi-sensor monitoring) to trace an accurate picture of daily time use and levels of physical activity that will help identify the best therapeutic options promoting daily activities and physical exercise in patients with SSD.
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