Introduction: Abnormalities in the experience of space and time are fundamental to understanding schizophrenia spectrum disorders, but the precise relation between such abnormalities and psychopathological symptoms is still unclear. Therefore, the aim of our study was to introduce a novel scale for space and time experience in psychosis (STEP), specifically devised to assess schizophrenia spectrum disorders. Methods: The STEP scale is a semiquantitative instrument developed on the basis of several items from previous scales and phenomenological reports addressing the experience of space and time. We applied the STEP scale to three groups of subjects (patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders, patients with predominant affective symptoms, and healthy control subjects), to whom we also applied other more general psychopathological scales, such as the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale and the Ego-Psychopathology Inventory. Results: Patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders scored significantly higher on general psychopatho<X00_Del_TrennDivis>-</X00_Del_TrennDivis>logical scales relative to subjects belonging to the other groups. The STEP scale provided good psychometric properties regarding reliability. We also tested convergent and divergent validity of the STEP scale and found that space and time subscale scores of STEP significantly correlated with each other, as well as with the remaining general psychopathological scores. Discussion/Conclusion: We introduced the STEP scale as a novel instrument for the assessment of experience of space and time. Its psychometric properties showed high validity and reliability to identify psychopathological symptoms and enabled to differentiate patients with predominantly psychotic symptoms from those with predominantly affective symptoms. The STEP scale provides a standardized measure for assessing disturbances in the experience of space and time. Furthermore, it probably represents a leap forward toward the establishment of an additional dimension of symptoms proposed as "spatiotemporal psychopathology."
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