Background: Expressed emotion (EE) status has been proven to be a good predictor of relapse in schizophrenia and
mood disorders. However, EE in schizophrenics and depressed patients was never compared to a healthy control group,
and there is no data of healthy and happily married partners (HHP) yet.
Method: 80 subjects without a DSM-IV lifetime diagnosis and contented with their partnerships participated in the study. They were compared with a number of samples relatives of schizophrenic and depressed patients from the published literature (N=537) with version of the Camberwell Family Interview (CFI) that was adapted to the use in
Results: HHP made significantly fewer critical comments to their partners than any compared clinical sample of
schizophrenic and depressed patients. Furthermore, they were less hostile, less emotional over-involvement, made more positive remarks and showed more warmth than the relatives of the patients’ groups. The women of the HHP expressed significantly more criticism than their partners whereas the male partners made more positive comments.
Conclusions: Relatives of clinical groups had significantly higher scores in the EE-Status than HHP. It might seem to
be obvious that this can be explained by the stress caused by a psychiatric disease, but this cannot inevitably be inferred from our results. High-EE could also be a behavioural manifestation of a schizophrenia or depression genotype. Further studies, looking at causal relations in particular, are needed.
Keywords: Expressed emotion, Camberwell Family Interview, healthy controls, depression, schizophrenia