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Expressed Emotion Among Parents of Youths with BD

Psychiatry Res; 2018 Dec; Millman, Weintraub, et al

Susceptibility to affective psychopathology may be an important contributor to the development of expressed emotion (EE) attitudes among parents of adolescents with bipolar disorder (BD), according to a recent study. Researchers examined past-week levels of emotional distress, lifetime affective diagnoses, and family histories of affective disorder among high- and low-EE parents of 86 adolescents with BD I or II who were recovering from an episode of depression or (hypo) mania. They found:

  • High EE parents endorsed higher concurrent levels of depression, anxiety, and anger/hostility than low EE parents, and reported a greater familial history of depression and BD.
  • No differences between high and low EE parents were found in concurrent levels of interpersonal sensitivity, lifetime rates of affective disorders, or familial loading of anxiety disorder.
  • Parents’ distress at the time of the EE assessment was the strongest correlate of EE.
Citation:

Millman ZB, Weintraub MJ, Miklowitz DJ. Expressed emotion, emotional distress, and individual and familial history of affective disorder among parents of adolescents with bipolar disorder. Psychiatry Res. 2018;270:656-660. doi:10.1016/j.psychres.2018.10.054.