Date of Award


Publication Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name





Psychology, Clinical.




The expressed emotion index is a measure of emotional attitudes that is thought to reflect the affective quality of the home environment. Studies have consistently shown that a high level of expressed emotion (i.e., high levels of criticism and/or excessive emotional involvement) in caregivers is associated with poor clinical outcome in patients with schizophrenia, depression, and eating disorders. The present study examined the association between expressed emotion in parents and two other family risk factors known to contribute to child disturbance, psychological distress in parents and overall family dysfunction. The degree to which this set of risk factors predicted child problem behaviour ratings was also examined. The sample comprised 20 two-parent families of 7-16 year old children drawn from the general clinical population and 19 nonclinical families. The results indicated that a high level of expressed emotion was associated with a greater number of overall problems in children, and higher ratings of internalizing and externalizing symptoms. Expressed emotion was not associated with level of psychological distress in parents but there was overlap between aspects of expressed emotion and parents' perceptions of overall family functioning. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses indicated that level of expressed emotion made a significant contribution to the prediction of child problem behaviour ratings after the effects of mothers' psychological distress and family functioning were considered. The implications of the present findings are discussed focusing on the relevance and applicability of the expressed emotion construct for the general clinical population of children. It is concluded that particular aspects of expressed emotion, especially the expression of positive emotional attitudes, may be useful to assess and identify in clinically referred families.Dept. of Psychology. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis1991 .K477. Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 53-01, Section: B, page: 0565. Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 1991.