Expressed emotion. Trait or state?

J. L. Schreiber, A. Breier, D. Pickar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Background. This exploratory study addresses the question of whether expressed emotion (EE) is a response characteristic of the parent (trait) or a parental response to specific circumstances or persons (state). Method. Seventeen parents participated in two audiotaped interviews, using modified versions of the Camberwell Family Interview. One interview concerned the child with chronic schizophrenia and the other a well sibling. Subsequent ratings of the EE variables of critical comments (CC), emotional overinvolvement (EOI) and warmth were completed and compared. Results. EE response patterns directed towards patients, as compared with towards siblings, were significantly different on two measures: EOI (P=0.01) and warmth (P=0.02). The parents showed significantly more emotional overinvolvement with the child with schizophrenia and significantly more warmth towards the well child. Conclusions. These data suggest that the EE variables of EOI and warmth are related to the state of child, and the lack of a significant difference in CC suggests that this is a parental trait.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)647-649
Number of pages3
JournalBritish Journal of Psychiatry
Issue numberMAY
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Neuroscience(all)


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