Expressed emotion (EE) pertains to care giver's attitude towards a person with a mental disorder. It is a characteristic of the family milieu that has been found to be one of the major psychosocial stressors and an important predictor of symptom relapse in a wide range of psychiatric disorders. Research on EE was initiated early in the 1950s, and the researchers observed that close emotional ties between families could lead to minimum stimulation and social withdrawal by a patient suffering from schizophrenia. They also observed that such patients were more likely to relapse when living with close relatives who had negative attitudes. The communication patterns in families with high EE relatives are usually characterized by intense and confronting verbal exchanges. The authors present the case of a young African American male with acute relapse of symptoms of schizophrenia in the background of a family with high EE.
Keywords: Expressed emotion, schizophrenia, psychiatric disorders, relapse