Distress, expressed emotion, and attributions in relatives of schizophrenia patients

Christine Barrowclough, Nicholas Tarrier, Marie Johnston

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    This article investigates the level of distress in relatives at the time of an acute episode of illness in the schizophrenia sufferer. Guided by attributional literature on the prediction of distress and depression, the association between relatives' distress and their explanations and beliefs concerning the illness is examined in the context of the expressed emotion status of the relative. The study found that although distress levels were unrelated to the relatives' beliefs about the patient's role in negative events, beliefs that illness events were caused by factors internal to the relatives themselves ('self-blaming' beliefs) were associated with distress in the relatives. The authors argue that understanding the cognitive appraisal processes involved in how caregivers perceive schizophrenia is important to understanding their response to the illness and helping them to adapt to the problems.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)691-702
    Number of pages11
    JournalSchizophrenia Bulletin
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 1996


    • Acute Disease
    • Adaptation, Psychological
    • Adult
    • Cost of Illness
    • Expressed Emotion
    • psychology: Family
    • Female
    • Humans
    • Internal-External Control
    • Male
    • Personality Assessment
    • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
    • diagnosis: Schizophrenia
    • Schizophrenic Psychology


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