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Psychiatry Res. 1997 Aug 29;72(1):23-31.

Family treatment, expressed emotion and relapse in recent onset schizophrenia.

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Psychiatric Centre Willibrord, Department of Psychotherapy De Oosthoek, Limmen, The Netherlands.


A controlled longitudinal treatment study was carried out to investigate the effect of a behavioral family treatment on Expressed Emotion (EE) and to examine the correspondence between EE changes and relapse rates. Subjects were 52 patients with recent onset schizophrenia or related disorders and their parents. After completion of inpatient treatment they were randomly allocated to individual treatment or individual treatment plus family treatment. The family treatment consisted of education and training in communication and problem-solving skills. Expressed Emotion was measured with the Five-Minute Speech Sample (FMSS). The findings show that family treatment did not have a significant positive effect on EE level. The dichotomous FMSS/EE did not systematically change and these findings were comparable with the results of prior EE research. A scoring system that included all subscores of the FMSS was somewhat more sensitive to changes. In the individual treatment condition relapse rates tended to co-occur with a change in FMSS/EE level, irrespective of the direction of this change.

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