The European Prediction of Psychosis Study (EPOS) involved a large (n=245) sample of young individuals at high-risk of developing psychosis. Participants appraisals of criticism and emotional over-involvement were described employing the Level of Expressed Emotion (LEE) measure. This presentation explores results and implications over an 18 month follow-up period.
Across six European centres, n=245 patients aged 16 – 35 years and ascertained to be at high-risk of developing psychosis were assessed over a period of eighteen months. Risk of psychosis was defined by occurrence of basic symptoms, attenuated psychotic symptoms, brief, limited or intermittent psychotic symptoms or familial risk plus reduced functioning. Appraisals of familial expressed emotion from participants towards key family members were examined for relationships to risk of transition to psychosis, psychotic symptomatology and demographical data.
Individuals at high-risk of psychosis were included and compared on the five sub-scales of LEE. Levels of Criticism, Irritability, Intrusiveness and Lack of emotional support were examined with significant correlations found between patient-perceived intrusive over-involvement and depression as well as between sub-scales of LEE and positive symptoms of psychosis. Transition to psychosis was not predicted by LEE in participants.
Perceived LEE of significant others by individuals at high-risk of developing psychosis may have a role in the maintenance of both affective and positive psychotic symptoms prior to the onset of full psychosis. Further explorations of the impact of EE appraisal on developing psychotic symptoms may inform potential targets for therapeutic intervention in both at-risk individuals and family members.