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High Expressed Emotion and Schizophrenia: A Study of Illness Characteristics among Patients in a Tertiary Hospital in Lagos, Nigeria.

RE Ogbolu
JD Aseyemi
AR Erinfolami


Background: The prevention of relapse is one of the major aims of treatment of emotional disorders. Expressed emotion (EE) is one concept that has been associated with relapse. The study is aimed at studying the relationship between expressed emotion and the clinical characteristics of patients with schizophrenia.
Methods: All eligible subjects meeting the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV (SCID) diagnostic criteria of schizophrenia were serially recruited from two public hospitals over a three month period. They were evaluated using a General socio-demographic questionnaire and the Level of Expressed Emotion (LEE).
Results: There was a mean age of 39 years (SD=11.6), and slightly more males than females. Eight of the patients [16.0%] were in-patients, while forty-two [84.0%] were out-patients. Forty patients were on conventional antipsychotics, while atypical antipsychotics were used in a few. The mean duration of illness history was 5.62 years, (SD 3.64). The mean number of previous episodes was 1.96, (SD 1.22). The relapse rate for all the patients is 34.9%. High expressed emotion was associated with greater relapse rate and emotional over involvement was more prevalent.
Conclusion: There is a need to specifically enquire about high expressed emotion, and design intervention strategies, among those with five or more episodes of illness, with focus on emotional over involvement.

Key Words: Expressed emotion, Schizophrenia, Illness duration, Relapse rate.

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eISSN: 0189-1774