How do Patients with Schizophrenia Perceive Relatives’ Levels of Expressed Emotions? A Brief Patient Rated Scale


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Scientific Research Publishing

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Background: Patients’ perspective on relatives’ attitude and behaviour towards them (Expressed emotion―EE) may be an important addition to the current focus on relatives’ perspective only, as measured by Camberwell Family Interview (CFI) or other methods. Based on the theory of EE, we have designed a brief, three-item questionnaire completed by patients, named Felt Expressed Emotion Rating Scale (FEERS). FEERS measures the patient’s experience of criticism (Cri) and emotional over involvement (i.e. worry (Wo), and control (Con). Aims: To investigate the test-retest reliability of the FEERS and associations between the FEERS and the CFI and to which extent FEERS scores were modified by severity of psychotic symptoms, cognitive function, patient mood and amount of face-to-face contact with relatives. Methods: Forty-five patients with schizophrenia and related psychoses admitted to a psychiatric hospital and 67 relatives were included. Assessments included FEERS, CFI and Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS). Results: FEERS-Cri test-retest intra-class correlation (ICC1,1) was 0.71 among patients with low total PANSS scores, low cognitive impairment (0.59) and depression (0.63). For low levels of cognitive impairment, the ICCs of the FEERS-Wo and the FEERS-Con were 0.62 and 0.83, respectively. The FEERS-Cri and FEERS- Wo correlated significantly with CFI-CC and CFI-positive comments, respectively. Among the relatives that the patient deemed “not at all critical” (low FEERS-Cri scores), 94% had low CFI-CC levels. Conclusions: The FEERS may be a brief, time-saving alternative for identifying relatives with low levels of criticism. However, illness severity, cognitive function and mood influence FEERS test-retest reliability and link to CFI.




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