Expressed emotion, human agency, and schizophrenia: Toward a new model for the EE-relapse association

Nicholas J.K. Breitborde, Steven R. López, Keith H. Nuechterlein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although there is a clear statistical association between expressed emotion (EE) and schizophrenic relapse, our understanding of the mechanisms underlying this relationship is underdeveloped. This study tested a theoretical model in which caregivers' perceptions of their ill relative's agency underlie the EE-relapse association. To evaluate this model, we completed qualitative and quantitative analyses of narratives provided by individuals caring for a relative with schizophrenia. The results indicate that high-EE caregivers perceive the expression of symptoms as stemming from their ill relative's agency more frequently than low-EE caregivers. This was true for both high-EE-criticism and high-EE-emotional overinvolvement caregivers. High-EE and low-EE caregivers did not differ in their perceptions of the role of their ill relative's agency with regard to the control of symptoms. The findings suggest that EE may be a proxy risk factor for caregivers' perceptions of their ill relative's agency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-60
Number of pages20
JournalCulture, Medicine and Psychiatry
Volume33
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2009

Keywords

  • Expressed emotion
  • Human agency
  • Narrative
  • Schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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