Expressed emotion in first-episode schizophrenia and in ultra high-risk patients: Results from the Programma2000 (Milan, Italy)

Azienda Ospedaliera Ospedale Niguarda Ca' Granda, Milano, Dipartimento di Salute Mentale: Centro per l'individuazione e l'intervento precoce nelle psicosi-Programma 2000.
Psychiatry Research (Impact Factor: 2.68). 04/2011; 189(3):331-8. DOI: 10.1016/j.psychres.2011.03.021
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Expressed emotion (EE) was examined in a large sample of families of patients with either first-episode psychosis (FEP) within the schizophrenia spectrum, or who met the criteria for ultra high-risk (UHR) of psychosis. The aim of our study was to determine the patterns and relationship of EE with the duration of untreated illness (DUI) or of untreated psychosis (DUP), as well as with illness severity. The sample used in our study included 77 FEP and 66 UHR families. The Camberwell Family Interview was used to assess EE. In both samples, about one-third of patients' families were classified as high EE, with emotional over-involvement (EOI) being the most frequent reason for a family to be classified as high EE. In FEP, higher EE correlated with longer DUI, and higher paternal EOI with longer DUP. DUI, however, was not found to correlate to EE in UHR patients. Severity of illness at the initial assessment did not relate to EE in either FEP or UHR families. Families of FEP and UHR patients were not found to differ in terms of the prevalence of a high EE rating, or of any of its subcomponents. The results of this study only partially support the hypothesis that high EE develops as a reaction to patient status. Patients from families with high EE could possibly benefit from interventions that are targeted at improving their resilience when dealing with problematic family environments.

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