The diathesis and/or stressor role of expressed emotion in affective illness

Mary Jo Coiro, Irving I. Gottesman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


The concept of expressed emotion, or EE, plays an important role in understanding psychosocial factors in the course of schizophrenia. More recently, the concept of EE has been applied to affectively ill samples, and our review of this research indicates that, overall, depressed patients with a high-EE relative are 13 times more likely to relapse than those with a low-EE relative. Next, we consider whether high EE is an indicator of the depressed patient-relative relationship, characteristics of the depressed person, or (in some cases) an indicator of parental psychopathology. Finally, we recommend that our understanding of the mechanisms by which EE is associated with relapse will be enhanced by integrating EE with existing theories of the etiologies and courses of the varieties of affective disorders. Key words: depression, expressed emotion, family stress, diathesis-stress, vulnerability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)310-322
Number of pages13
JournalClinical Psychology: Science and Practice
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1996


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