Expressed emotion and attributions in the carers of patients with Alzheimer's disease: the effect on carer burden

J Abnorm Psychol. 2002 May;111(2):340-9. doi: 10.1037//0021-843x.111.2.340.


Burden of care, expressed emotion (EE), causal attributions, and salivary cortisol were assessed in 100 carers of patients with Alzheimer's disease. Forty-one carers were rated high EE, which was associated with higher scores of carer distress and strain, and greater reports of noncognitive features in the patient, but not with cortisol levels. High EE carers made more attributions personal to, and controllable by, the patient for negative events. Critical carers made more attributions of the patient's behavior that was idiosyncratic. Warmth toward the patient was associated with the opposite of this pattern. Overinvolved carers made attributions of the patient's behavior to causes external to the patient and internal to themselves. Cortisol levels were associated with self-reports of strain and distress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / diagnosis
  • Alzheimer Disease / psychology*
  • Arousal
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Expressed Emotion*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control*
  • Male
  • Personality Assessment