Poster Abstract

January 21

Towards A Dyadic View of Expressed Emotion

Evelyn Mendoza
MARC U*STAR Fellow Summer Research Student
USC, BUAP University in Puebla, Mexico

Abstract: The family environment plays a significant role in the well-being and stability of persons with serious mental illness. Expressed emotion (EE) is one aspect of the family environment that is associated with the course of illness in schizophrenia and other disorders. The global construct of EE is based on indices related to specific caregiver behaviors and attitudes, primarily criticism and emotional overinvolvement (EOI). Studies have shown that individuals with schizophrenia who live with relatives high in these dimensions are 2-3 times more likely to relapse than those living with relatives who are low in these dimensions. Recent studies suggest that family warmth is also important.This study sought to further integrate patients’ views of expressed emotion (EE) into our understanding of the family context of mental illness. Sixty Mexican Americans with schizophrenia and their key relatives completed the Brief Dyadic Scale of Expressed Emotion (BDSEE), a new self-report instrument of EE. Key relatives’ EE was also assessed with the Camberwell Family Interview (CFI). Preliminary psychometric data provided moderate support for the reliability and validity of the BDSEE. For example, the indices of the key relative version of the BDSEE were positively related to the corresponding EE indices of the CFI. In addition, we compared the patterns and levels of ill relatives’ and key relatives’ perceived EE. Key relatives reported higher levels of EE than patients for each index, but the difference was largest for emotional overinvolvement. Our primary finding was that patients perceived emotional overinvolvement and criticism in a similar way. This result may suggest that there is a common psychological pathway by which key relatives’ ‘high-EE’ behavior affects patients. In contrast to patients, key relatives’ perceptions of emotional overinvolvement were related to their perceived warmth, in accordance with prior literature. Because ill relatives and key relatives’ view EE in different ways, we argue that both perspectives should be included in future research and clinical work.

The Development of a White Tactile Cane

Irvin Rabanalles
MARC U*STAR Fellow Summer Research Student
Doheny Retina Institute, USC Department of Biomedical Engineering, UCLA


Abstract: A white tactile cane that interfaces with visually impaired patients is being developed and prototyped. The white tactile cane will interface with visually impaired patients and improve mobility.

Back to seminars