Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

2019 Edition
| Editors: Jay L. Lebow, Anthony L. Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Expressed Emotion in Families

  • Hannah S. MyungEmail author
  • James L. Furrow
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_415

Name of Concept

Expressed Emotion in Families


Expressed emotion (EE) was first identified through studies of patients with schizophrenia and their families. Researchers explored various factors contributing to patient relapse given high rates of hospital recidivism and decompensation among patients diagnosed with schizophrenia. A patient’s family environment and emotional ties were identified as key predictors of treatment relapse and treatment outcomes. Over time EE has been more generally recognized as a family-specific influence effecting the course of treatment for several psychological disorders. Although EE studies initially focused on posttreatment outcomes, a series of family-based interventions have been targeted to influence family environments and to address the core effects of EE.

Theoretical Context for Concept

During the 1950s, George Brown was completing his undergraduate study when he was offered a research position at the Maudsley Hospital in London to...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Barrowclough, C., & Tarrier, N. (1997). Families of schizophrenic patients: Cognitive behavioural intervention. Cheltenham: Nelson Thornes.Google Scholar
  2. Brown, G. W. (1959). Experiences of discharged chronic schizophrenic patients in various types of living group. The Milbank Memorial Fund Quarterly, 37, 105–131.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Brown, G. W. (1985). The discovery of expressed emotion: Induction or deduction? In J. P. Leff & C. Vaughn (Eds.), Expressed emotion in families: Its significance for mental illness (pp. 7–25). New York: The Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  4. Brown, G. W., Carstairs, G. M., & Topping, G. (1958). Post hospital adjustment of chronic mental patients. The Lancet, 272, 685–689.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cole, J. D., & Kazarian, S. S. (1988). The level of expressed emotion scale: A new measure of expressed emotion. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 44, 392–397.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Duclos, J., Vibert, S., Mattar, L., & Godart, N. (2012). Expressed emotion in families of patients with eating disorders: A review of the literature. Current Psychiatry Reviews, 8, 183–202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Fichter, M. M., Glynn, S. M., Weyerer, S., Liberman, R. P., & Frick, U. (1997). Family climate and expressed emotion in the course of alcoholism. Family Process, 36, 203–221.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Hooley, J. M., & Teasdale, J. D. (1989). Predictors of relapse in unipolar depressives: Expressed emotion, marital distress, and perceived criticism. Journal of Abnormal Psychiatry, 98, 229–235.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Kavanagh, D. J., O’Halloran, P., Manicavasagar, V., Clark, D., Piatkowska, O., Tennant, C., & Rosen, A. (1997). The family attitude scale: Reliability and validity of a new scale for measuring the emotional climate of families. Psychiatry Research, 70, 185–195.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Leff, J. P., & Vaughn, C. (1985). Expressed emotion in families: Its significance for mental illness. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  11. Magaña, A. B., Goldstein, M. J., Karno, M., Miklowitz, D. J., Jenkins, J., & Falloon, I. R. H. (1986). A brief method for assessing expressed emotion in relatives of psychiatric patients. Psychiatry Research, 17, 203–212.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Shields, C. G., Franks, P., Harp, J. J., McDaniel, S. H., & Campbell, T. L. (1992). Development of the family emotional involvement and criticism scale (FEICS): A self-report scale to measure expressed emotion. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 18, 395–407.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Tarrier, N., Sommerfield, C., & Pilgrim, H. (1999). Relatives’ expressed emotion (EE) and PTSD treatment outcome. Psychological Medicine, 29, 801–811.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Vaughn, C., & Leff, J. P. (1976). The measurement of expressed emotion in families of psychiatric patients. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 15, 157–165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Wearden, A. J., Tarrier, N., Barrowclough, C., Zastowny, T. R., & Rahill, A. A. (2000). A review of expressed emotion research in health care. Clinical Psychology Review, 20, 633–666.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Fuller Graduate School of PsychologyPasadenaUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Farrah Hughes
    • 1
  • Allen Sabey
    • 2
  1. 1.Employee Assistance ProgramMcLeod HealthFlorenceUSA
  2. 2.The Family Institute at Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA