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The impact of significant other expressed emotion on patient outcomes in chronic fatigue syndrome

The impact of significant other expressed emotion on patient outcomes in chronic fatigue syndrome
The impact of significant other expressed emotion on patient outcomes in chronic fatigue syndrome
Objective: Previous literature has identified the importance of interpersonal processes for patient outcomes in chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME), particularly in the context of significant other relationships. The current study investigated expressed emotion (EE), examining the independent effects of critical comments and emotional overinvolvement (EOI) in association with patient outcomes. Method: Fifty-five patients with CFS/ME and their significant others were recruited from specialist CFS/ME services. Significant other EE status was coded from a modified Camberwell Family Interview. Patient outcomes (fatigue severity, disability, and depression) were derived from questionnaire measures. Forty-four patients (80%) completed follow-up questionnaires 6-months after recruitment. Results: Significant other high-EE categorized by both high levels of critical comments and high EOI was predictive of worse fatigue severity at follow-up. High-critical EE was associated with higher levels of patient depressive symptoms longitudinally; depressive symptoms were observed to mediate the relationship between high critical comments and fatigue severity reported at follow-up. There were higher rates of high-EE in parents than in partners, and this was because of higher rates of EOI in parents. Conclusions: Patients with high-EE significant others demonstrated poorer outcomes at follow-up compared with patients in low-EE dyads. One mechanism for this appears to be as a result of increased patient depression. Future research should seek to further clarify whether the role of interpersonal processes in CFS/ME differs across different patient-significant other relationships. The development of significant other-focused treatment interventions may be particularly beneficial for both patients and significant others.
chronic fatigue syndrome, significant others, expressed emotion, criticism
0278-6133
1092-1101
Band, Rebecca
be8901bb-bb1b-4131-8e19-c1d4a3bdfb8d
Barrowclough, Christine
bc8a2cfa-c710-4f40-8603-3e1e674adb0c
Wearden, Alison
57425d54-35b4-450e-8deb-ab18cd7016dc
Band, Rebecca
be8901bb-bb1b-4131-8e19-c1d4a3bdfb8d
Barrowclough, Christine
bc8a2cfa-c710-4f40-8603-3e1e674adb0c
Wearden, Alison
57425d54-35b4-450e-8deb-ab18cd7016dc

Band, Rebecca, Barrowclough, Christine and Wearden, Alison (2014) The impact of significant other expressed emotion on patient outcomes in chronic fatigue syndrome. Health Psychology, 33 (9), 1092-1101. (doi:10.1037/hea0000086).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Objective: Previous literature has identified the importance of interpersonal processes for patient outcomes in chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME), particularly in the context of significant other relationships. The current study investigated expressed emotion (EE), examining the independent effects of critical comments and emotional overinvolvement (EOI) in association with patient outcomes. Method: Fifty-five patients with CFS/ME and their significant others were recruited from specialist CFS/ME services. Significant other EE status was coded from a modified Camberwell Family Interview. Patient outcomes (fatigue severity, disability, and depression) were derived from questionnaire measures. Forty-four patients (80%) completed follow-up questionnaires 6-months after recruitment. Results: Significant other high-EE categorized by both high levels of critical comments and high EOI was predictive of worse fatigue severity at follow-up. High-critical EE was associated with higher levels of patient depressive symptoms longitudinally; depressive symptoms were observed to mediate the relationship between high critical comments and fatigue severity reported at follow-up. There were higher rates of high-EE in parents than in partners, and this was because of higher rates of EOI in parents. Conclusions: Patients with high-EE significant others demonstrated poorer outcomes at follow-up compared with patients in low-EE dyads. One mechanism for this appears to be as a result of increased patient depression. Future research should seek to further clarify whether the role of interpersonal processes in CFS/ME differs across different patient-significant other relationships. The development of significant other-focused treatment interventions may be particularly beneficial for both patients and significant others.

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Published date: 2014
Keywords: chronic fatigue syndrome, significant others, expressed emotion, criticism
Organisations: Psychology

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 368571
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/368571
ISSN: 0278-6133
PURE UUID: 81bdd1e0-8029-46f2-ace3-a9b9dedac52c
ORCID for Rebecca Band: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-5403-1708

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Date deposited: 23 Sep 2014 08:56
Last modified: 10 Sep 2019 00:34

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