The emergence of Schizophrenia can be attributed to many individual factors including biological causes, such as heredity and genetics, sociopsychological influences, like social class, and social factors, namely stressful life events. One particular opinion regarding the aetiology of this illness is Expressed Emotion: a concept which links directly to the emotional atmosphere in the caregivers home, and the feelings conveyed regarding the illness of the dependent (Whittick, 1993). When a Schizophrenic patient goes into convalescence, they are required to be in a stable environment which is low in expressed emotion, otherwise implications, including relapse, are more likely to occur (Vaughn and Leff, 1976).
Schizophrenia is a complex psychological disorder in which the sufferer experiences severe disturbances is cognitive ability, speech, perception, emotion and behaviour (Herz and Marder, 2002). Although Eugene Bleuler first introduced the disorder of Schizophrenia in 1911, it had been documented as being a discrete psychological condition as early as 1887, by Emile Kraepelin (Passer, 2009). A direct translation of Schizophrenia is “split mind” and is ultimately a loss of harmony between various groups of mental functions, often confused with dissociative identity disorder. To be diagnosed with Schizophrenia, the individual must display signs of having a variety of symptoms, for example, delusions of control, hallucinations and catatonia (World Health Organisation, 1993), which fall under the category of positive symptoms. Delusions can be classified as bizarre or nonbizarre, depending on the nature of the delusion. For example, the DSM-IV-TR would consider a delusion that involved a Schizophrenic believing that aliens were controlling their thoughts and actions (Hansell and Damour, 2008) to be bizarre as this is not an ordinary life experience. In comparison to this, a nonbizarre delusion would involve a potential life experience, such as the belief that MI5 are monitoring the Schizophrenics actions. Negative symptoms are those where there is a loss of abilities in speech, enthusiasm and emotional responses (World Health Organisation, 1993).
Expressed Emotion (EE) is ultimately a measure of hostility, criticality and the emotional impact of the attitudes displayed by a caregiver with respect to a mentally ill individual (Ritsner and Gibel, 2007). It if often a repercussion of little knowledge regarding the psychological condition that they are now concerned with. Expressed Emotion has previously been researched by Psychologists such as Brown (1962) and more recently Hooley (2007) and is of particular interest in the psychological world as it has indicated reasoning behind the relapse of psychiatric patients, as well as the onset of psychological conditions such as Schizophrenia (Hooley, 2004).
One of the main components of high expressed emotion is hostility. This results as a consequence of the caregiver becoming convinced that the...