Departmental Papers (SPP)

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version

May 2007


Research has shown that EE among families is a strong predictor of relapse for people with severe mental illness. Recent studies have also found the presence of EE in consumer-provider relationships. Despite high consistency in the findings related to EE and relapse, the concept has weak validity as little is known about how exactly it triggers relapse. Microsociological theory provides a framework with which to analyze social interaction and, more specifically, understand how interactions relate to the emotions of pride and shame. By identifying the components of interaction rituals, the theory provides insight into the key processes underlying EE and demonstrates how methodologies based on direct observation have the potential to measure EE with greater validity. This article describes how microsociological theory can be applied to the concept of expressed emotion (EE).


Postprint version. Published in Psychiatric Quarterly, Volume 78, Issue 2, June 2007, pages 117-128. Publisher URL:


expressed emotion, severe mental illness, methods, sociology



Date Posted: 08 November 2007

This document has been peer reviewed.