Digital phenotyping adherence, feasibility, and tolerability in outpatients with schizophrenia

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Digital phenotyping has potential for use as an objective and ecologically valid form of symptom assessment in clinical trials for schizophrenia. However, there are critical methodological factors that must be addressed before digital phenotyping can be used for this purpose. The current study evaluated levels of adherence, feasibility, and tolerability for active (i.e., signal and event contingent ecological momentary assessment surveys) and passive (i.e., geolocation, accelerometry, and ambulatory psychophysiology) digital phenotyping methods recorded from smartphone and smartband devices. Participants included outpatients diagnosed with schizophrenia (SZ: n = 54) and demographically matched healthy controls (CN: n = 55), who completed 6 days of digital phenotyping. Adherence was significantly lower in SZ than CN for active recordings, but not markedly different for passive recordings. Some forms of passive recordings had lower adherence (ambulatory psychophysiology) than others (accelerometry and geolocation). Active digital phenotyping adherence was predicted by higher psychosocial functioning, whereas passive digital phenotyping adherence was predicted by education, positive symptoms, negative symptoms, and psychosocial functioning in people with SZ. Both groups found digital phenotyping methods tolerable and feasibility was supported by low frequency of invalid responding, brief survey completion times, and similar impediments to study completion. Digital phenotyping methods can be completed by individuals with SZ with good adherence, feasibility, and tolerability. Recommendations are provided for using digital phenotyping methods in clinical trials for SZ.

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Journal of psychiatric research

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