Expressed emotion in family members of depressed older adults

Gregory A. Hinrichsen, L. Adelstein, M. McMeniman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


This study examined similarities between the Expressed Emotion (EE) construct developed in the psychiatric literature and interpersonally relevant constructs derived from gerontology caregiver research. Expressed emotion and other indices derived from the Camberwell Family Interview (CFI) were assessed in 46 adult children and spouses providing care to an older adult hospitalized for major depressive disorder. The relationship of CFI indices with the family member's past and current relationship with the depressed relative, illness attributions, and emotional functioning was examined. Of the family members, 60.9% were classified as high EE. Measures of past and current relationship and illness attributions were significantly associated with most of the CFI indices. In multivariate analyses, past relationship and illness attributions predicted high EE status. Only past relationship predicted the CFI index of warmth. There is conceptual and empirical overlap between the EE construct and interpersonally relevant gerontology variables. Expressed emotion holds promise for a more complex understanding of caregiving and better caregiver interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)355-363
Number of pages9
JournalAging and Mental Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2004
Externally publishedYes


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