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

Kayla Gurak, Amy G Weisman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalFamily Process
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2015

Keywords

  • African Americans
  • Communication Patterns
  • Content Analysis
  • Expressed Emotion
  • Schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology

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