Faculty Articles

Title

Caregiver Expressed Emotion and Psychiatric Symptoms in African-Americans with Schizophrenia: An Attempt to Understand the Paradoxical Relationship.

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

6-1-2017

Publication Title

Family Process

Volume

56

Issue/Number

2

First Page

476

ISSN

1545-5300

Last Page

486

Abstract/Excerpt

Expressed emotion (EE) is a family environmental construct that assesses how much criticism, hostility, and/or emotional over-involvement a family member expresses about a patient (Hooley, Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 2007, 3, 329). Having high levels of EE within the family environment has generally been associated with poorer patient outcomes for schizophrenia and a range of other disorders. Paradoxically, for African-American patients, high-EE may be associated with a better symptom course (Rosenfarb, Bellack, & Aziz, Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 2006, 115, 112). However, this finding is in need of additional support and, if confirmed, clarification. In line with previous research, using a sample of 30 patients with schizophrenia and their primary caregivers, we hypothesized that having a caregiver classified as low-EE would be associated with greater patient symptom severity. We also aimed to better understand why this pattern may exist by examining the content of interviews taken from the Five-Minute Speech Sample. Results supported study hypotheses. In line with Rosenfarb et al. (2006), having a low-EE caregiver was associated with greater symptom severity in African-American patients. A content analysis uncovered some interesting patterns that may help elucidate this finding. Results of this study suggest that attempts to lower high-EE in African Americans may, in fact, be counterproductive.

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1111/famp.12188

PubMed ID

26498273

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