Time perception and psychopathology: Influence of time perspective on quality of life of severe mental illness

Actas Esp Psiquiatr. 2014 May-Jun;42(3):99-107. Epub 2014 May 1.


Introduction: The study of time perception and mental illness has given priority to time estimation over time perspective. Considering Zimbardo’s theory on five dimensions of time perspective, and balanced time perspective profile, this study has aimed to compare people with severe mental illness (SMI) and healthy people, with measurements of time perspective and time estimation and to assess whether the time perspective profile influences the quality of life in people with SMI.

Material and methods: Using a quasi-experimental design, a clinical group (n=167) corresponding to four samples of severe mental disorders (major depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and personality disorders) and healthy people (n=167) were compared in their performance regarding time perspective and time estimation. After, the clinical sample was grouped according to their deviation from the balanced time perspective profile (DBTP) and negative profile (DNTP). These groups were evaluated with health measures and time estimation tasks.

Results and conclusion: Through the ANOVA, it can be seen that the time perspective profile affects health measurements. There are significant differences between the clinical sample and controls regarding time perspective and time estimation. Within the group of patients, it was observed that those who were closer to the BTP profile had better physical health, and less hopelessness (p<.05). This measurement may favor interventions related to a balanced profile. Results are discussed in relation to contribution of time perspective in the assessment, treatment and quality of life of people with SMI.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Time Perception*
  • Young Adult