Dyadic view of expressed emotion, stress, and eating disorder psychopathology

Cristina Medina-Pradas, J. Blas Navarro, Steven R. López, Antoni Grau, Jordi E. Obiols

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22 Citations (Scopus)


Prevailing models of the association between expressed emotion (EE) and relapse conceptualize EE as a form of stress for patients. In eating disorders (ED), there is no research addressed to evaluate the degree to which patients feel stress due to their relatives' EE. It has been neither investigated how the EE and the subsequent stress relate to disordered behaviours and attitudes neither. Using a sample of 77 inpatients with ED, this study aimed to: (1) evaluate patients' reported level of stress as it relates to their caregivers' EE, particularly as associated with carer's criticism, emotional overinvolvement and warmth; (2) examine the associations of stress with the patients' perceptions (self-reported) and the caregivers' perspective (assessed by the Camberwell Family Interview) of the EE; and (3) study how the two views of EE (patients' and caregivers') and the stress due to EE relate to the ED symptoms. The findings indicate that patients judged their carers' critical stance as the most stressful, followed by emotional overinvolvement. Secondly, patients' perceptions of EE, whereas none of the interview indices focused on the caregivers' perspective, were associated to the stress and to the ED symptomatology. Additionally, the patients' stress due to criticism was positively related to the ED symptoms, while the stress associated with emotional overinvolvement and warmth was not. Clinical and research implications are discussed. Findings suggest attention to the ED patients' view of their family environment and support the utility of assessing their appraisals of EE. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)743-748
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2011


  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Bulimia nervosa
  • Criticism
  • Emotional overinvolvement
  • Expressed emotion
  • Perceived stress
  • Perceptions
  • Warmth


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