A sample of 60 Spanish schizophrenic patients was studied to ascertain the relationship between their relatives' expressed emotion (EE) and relapse at follow-up. The relatives' EE and patients' relapse were operationalised following Leff & Vaughn's criteria. At nine months a significant association was not found between the relatives' EE and relapse, but this association became significant on reclassifying the relatives' EE scores after decreasing to four points the cut-off point for critical comments. At 24 months no association was found between EE and relapse. There was a tendency for patients who interrupted their medication or who did not work to relapse more frequently, particularly among the high-EE group.