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Previous research has generally found that variations in relatives' affective attitudes (expressed emotion; EE) towards a schizophrenic family member could not be accounted for by differences in the severity or form of the patient's symptomatology. These findings have been based on clinicians' ratings of psychopathology in patients.
To approach the question from a different perspective, videotaped interactions between a patient and family members, obtained four to five weeks after hospital discharge, were coded for subclinical signs of psychopathology expressed by the patient. The Behavioral Subclinical Rating Scale (BSRS) was developed to compare subclinical levels of non-verbal and paralinguistic symptoms expressed by patients from both high- and low-EE families.
Highly significant differences were found in the BSRS data. Patients from high-EE families showed more hostile and unusual behaviour with relatives than those from low-EE homes, who, in contrast, showed more anxious behaviour.
These data suggest that a complex transactional model is necessary to understand how family attitudes evolve during the course of a relatives' schizophrenic disorder.
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