Expressed Emotion in relatives of persons with dementia: a systematic review and meta-analysis

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OBJECTIVES: Expressed Emotion (EE) refers to a number of key aspects of interpersonal relationships which have been shown to relate to outcomes in relatives of people with health conditions. DESIGN: A systematic review and meta-analysis of EE and outcomes in relatives of persons with dementia is reported. Potential research studies were identified via a search of three electronic databases; PsychINFO, MEDLINE and the Web of Science between 1960 and 2015. RESULTS: We reviewed 12 studies investigating correlations between EE and well-being in relatives of patients with dementia. Factors hypothesised to influence EE including attributions, social support, coping strategies and relationship quality were also reviewed. CONCLUSION: High-EE relatives were found to have increased levels of burden (Z = 6.967, P <0.001) and greater levels of depression (Z = 5.842, P <0.001). Compared to low-EE relatives, high-EE relatives were more likely to attribute the patient's problems to factors that were personal to and controllable by the patient. Relatives with less social support, inefficient coping strategies and a poor relationship with the patients, were more likely to be classified as high-EE.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-124
JournalAging & mental health
Issue number2
Early online date16 Nov 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Expressed Emotion
  • burden
  • dementia
  • psychological well-being


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