March 1988

Family Factors and the Course of Bipolar Affective Disorder

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Psychology (Drs Miklowitz and Goldstein) and Psychiatry (Drs Nuechterlein and Mintz and Ms Snyder), UCLA School of Medicine.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1988;45(3):225-231. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1988.01800270033004

• Measures of family attitudes (expressed emotion [EE]) and interactional behaviors (affective style [AS]), both of which have been found to predict relapse in schizophrenia, were obtained from key relatives of 23 hospitalized recently manic bipolar patients. Patients were then followed up for a period of nine months after hospital discharge and rated on measures of clinical course, social adjustment, and medication compliance. Levels of intrafamilial EE and AS were found to predict likelihood of patient relapse at follow-up, especially when used as conjoint predictors of patient outcome status. Levels of AS also predicted degree of social adjustment at follow-up. The predictive relationships observed were independent of patient medication compliance, treatment regimen, baseline symptoms, demographics, and illness history. Results suggest that the emotional atmosphere of the family during the postdischarge period may be an important predictor of the clinical course of bipolar disorder.