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Hosp Community Psychiatry. 1992 Jun;43(6):591-8.

Expressed emotion: conceptual, clinical, and social policy issues.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Miami School of Medicine, FL 33101.


Research on schizophrenia has suggested an association between relapse of patients and high expressed emotion (EE), defined as criticism, hostility, or emotional overinvolvement of at least one family member. In international studies, however, the majority of families of persons with schizophrenia demonstrate low expressed emotion. These families are described as empathic, calm, and respectful by EE researchers, who also reject the idea of family schizophrenogenesis. The author discusses expressed emotion as a construct, its validity and stability over time, and the direction of the relationship between relatives' expressed emotion and patients' symptoms and behavior. She reviews studies indicating significant differences in levels of expressed emotion across cultures, examines the social policy implications of programming based on the construct, and suggests research on EE analogues in clinical and rehabilitative environments.

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