Expressed and perceived criticism, family warmth, and symptoms in schizophrenia

Span J Psychol. 2013:16:E45. doi: 10.1017/sjp.2013.25.


Criticism directed by caregivers towards a family member with schizophrenia, both from the perspective of the patient and of the caregiver, predicts relapse, although both perspectives differ. This study aims to verify if the same applies to a Mediterranean sample, where criticism is not the main attitude of high expressed emotion families. The Camberwell Family Interview was applied to assess the family's perspective, and the Perceived Criticism and the Family Emotional Involvement and Criticism Scales were used to assess the patients' perspective, in 21 dyads. The association between both perspectives and psychotic symptoms was also examined. Results replicated those of previous studies in other countries, revealing that the perspectives on Criticism of patients and families do not match. The fact that family members also presented positive attitudes towards the patient did not cushion the patient's perceived criticism. Thus, it seems that families considered to be critical may not be perceived as such by the patients. Furthermore, only the warmth from the family's perspective correlated with the symptoms: positive affect proved to be more relevant than negative affect. Therefore, the patients' subjective assessments and family warmth should be included in clinical and research proposals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Expressed Emotion*
  • Family Relations*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Schizophrenia*
  • Schizophrenic Psychology*
  • Social Behavior
  • Social Environment*
  • Young Adult