Expressed emotion, attributions, and schizophrenia symptom dimensions

Amy G. Weisman, Keith H. Nuechterlein, Michael J. Goldstein, Karen S. Snyder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Scopus citations


Using a sample of 40 Anglo American family members of schizophrenic patients, the present study replicates and lends cross-cultural support for an attribution-affect model of expressed emotion (EE). Consistent with attribution theory, the authors found that highly critical relatives (high- EE) viewed the illness and associated symptoms as residing more within the patient's personal control as compared with less critical relatives (low- EE). A content analysis classified the types of behaviors and symptoms most frequently criticized by relatives. Symptoms reflecting behavioral deficits (e.g., poor hygiene) were found to be criticized more often than symptoms reflecting behavioral excesses (e.g., hallucinations). In line with an attribution-affect framework, relatives may be less tolerant of behavioral deficits because they are viewed as intentional, whereas behavioral excesses are easily recognized as core symptoms of mental illness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)355-359
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of abnormal psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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