Research Reports - Expressed emotion and its relationship to anxiety and depression after traumatic brain injury

Neuropsychol Rehabil. 2012 Jun;22(3):374-90

Alway Y, McKay A, Ponsford J, Schönberger M.

Levels of expressed emotion (EE) within the family, particularly criticism and
emotional over-involvement, are associated with a patient's psychological outcome
in a range of psychiatric and medical conditions. This study aimed to examine the
relationship between levels of family EE and anxiety and depression in patients
who have sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI). A further aim was to examine
whether family members' levels of psychological distress and attributions of
patient symptom controllability, were related to their levels of patient-directed
EE. Participants were 43 patients who had sustained a complicated mild to severe
TBI three months to five years previously, and their nominated family members.
Results indicated that family members' criticism and emotional over-involvement
were associated with patients' levels of anxiety and depression. Moreover, family
members' levels of anxiety and depression were associated with their levels of
patient-directed criticism and emotional over-involvement, whilst their
attributions of patient symptom control were not. These findings suggest that
levels of EE within the family are associated with psychological adjustment
following TBI. Consequently, interventions targeting EE in family members may
help to reduce psychiatric difficulties following TBI.

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