The assessment of psychophysiological reactivity to the expressed emotion of relatives of schizophrenic patients

Br J Psychiatry. 1988 May;152:618-24. doi: 10.1192/bjp.152.5.618.


The measure of expressed emotion (EE) of the relative has been found to be an important predictor of schizophrenic relapse. Electrodermal measures were recorded when the schizophrenic patient was talking to an experimenter, and when the patient was talking to a relative. Although there were no differences during the relative-absent period, patients with a high-EE relative present exhibited significantly higher frequencies of non-specific skin-conductance responses (NS-SCRs) than patients with a low-EE relative present. Patients show a significant decrease in NS-SCRs on the entry of low-EE, but not high-EE relatives. Patients with high-EE relatives show overall higher levels of skin-conductance levels (SCLs) than patients with low-EE relatives. Although patients with high-EE relatives rate themselves significantly more tense and anxious on self-rating scales, there are no significant correlations between self-ratings and electrodermal measures. The use of electrodermal reactivity as an assessment measure of relapse risk is discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Emotions*
  • Family*
  • Female
  • Galvanic Skin Response / physiology
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Recurrence
  • Schizophrenia / physiopathology*
  • Schizophrenic Psychology
  • Self-Assessment