Examining the role of expressed emotion in the intergenerational transmission of mental health problems

Analisa Arroyo, Chris G Segrin, Kristin K. Andersen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Introduction: The aim of this study was to test a model of the intergenerational transmission of mental health problems (indicated by depression, anxiety, and loneliness) in which expressed emotion (indicated by criticism and emotional involvement) was specified as a mediator of mental health problems over multiple family generations. Method: The sample consisted of three generations of grandmothers, mothers, and daughters (N = 242 family triads), wherein participants completed online surveys in which they self-reported on their own mental health problems and perceptions of their mothers’ expressed emotion. Results: Results revealed only modest evidence of direct effects for the intergenerational transmission of mental health problems. However, there were a number of significant indirect effects, with all of these effects occurring through the criticism component of expressed emotion. Discussion: This research identified expressed emotion as both a risk factor for offspring’s mental health problems as well as a behavior typical of parents with mental health problems. Specifically, the results revealed that mental health problems are intergenerationally transmitted via critical parent-child interactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)812-834
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Social and Clinical Psychology
Volume37
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018

Keywords

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Expressed emotion
  • Family communication
  • Loneliness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology

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