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Psychology
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Attributional Assignment Analysis of Expressed Emotion (Essay Sample)

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The influence of family environment on recovery or relapse rate for mental patients

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Attributional Analysis of Expressed Emotion
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The influence of family environment on recovery or relapse rate for mental patients has been researched widely. A study by Weisman, Lopez, Karno and Jenkins (1993) titled ‘An Attributional Analysis of Expressed Emotion in Mexican-American Families with Schizophrenia’ sought to establish the extent to which such an atmosphere affected schizophrenic patients. Specifically, the study intended to determine the relationship between emotions expressed by key family members regarding their perception of the patient’s personal control over the illness, and the patient's likelihood of relapse. The study was intended to test the attribution model of expressed emotion.
The study tested two hypotheses. First, attributions regarding the controllability of patient symptoms and how this relates to Expressed Emotion (EE) status were tested. The researchers hypothesized that a family member who showed high expressed emotion (EE) would likely perceive the patient as having personal control over the disease (Weisman, 1993). The variables were controllability and expressed emotion. Expressed emotion was measured based on how critical the family member’s comments were of the patient. Controllability was defined as the level of disagreement with the patient's behavioral pattern.
The second hypothesis tested whether a relationship exists between family members' perception of a patient's personal control over the disease (controllability attributions) and the affective emotions displayed towards the patient. The variables were controllability and affect. Controllability was rated using controllability scores on a 4-digit scale. Affect was defined as emotion displayed towards the patient as being either positive, such a showing s compassion, or negative, such as disgust toward the patient. Negative affect contributed to greater relapse rate, while positive affect was a motivation for patient recovery.
Participants of the study were 46 key Mexican-American family members of patients exhibiting schizophrenia. There were 23 high EE and 23 low EE family members of schizophrenic patients. This sample was drawn from a previous EE study (Weisman, 1993).
Random selection was used to choose participants. All participants were from mental health service agencies within California. To measure the participants' Expressed Emotion (EE), the abbreviated Camberwell Family Interview (CFI) was used. The level to which relatives expressed critical, over-involved attitudes towards the patient was used to determine EE score. More than six critical comments or ratings of 4 and above on the emotional over-involvement scale were considered high EE cases (Weisman, 1993).
To measure controllability, a trained coder was used to read a transcribed version of the CFI. The coder was also used to read statements that hinted at the participants' perception of the patient's ability or otherwise, to control the condition. The comments were then weighed and a 5-scale rating used to determine the level of controllability, with 1 indicating no perceived control, while 5 implied great control by the patient over the disorder. Based on the attribution theory, affect level was assigned as being either positive or negative (Weisman, 1993). To assess reliability, a comparison was made between the two coders' overall list of affects for every ten training transcriptions. To assess controllability reliability, Cohen's (1986) weighted statistic was used as it is effective in correcting for chance agreement (as cited in Weisman, 1993).
Study findings showed that emotions displayed by both high EE and low EE relatives overlap, ...
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