Expressed emotion and anorexia nervosa: The validation of the five-minute speech sample in reference to the Camberwell family interview




The goal of the current study was to test whether the Five-Minute Speech Sample (FMSS) assessments of expressed emotion (EE) in families with a daughter with anorexia nervosa (AN) are valid in comparison to the Camberwell Family Interview (CFI).


The sample included parents of hospitalized patients with AN. Assessments were conducted at the time of patients' discharge from the hospital. The participants (n = 40) were assessed individually with the FMSS and then the CFI. FMSS-EE ratings were classified as high or low for Emotional Overinvolvement (EOI), Critical EE, and Final EE (overall rating). For the CFI, average EE scores were computed on the same subscales.


Comparisons of FMSS subgroups on the CFI mean scores revealed that parents rated high EE on the FMSS subscales (EOI and Final EE) had significantly greater mean scores on the CFI than parents rated low EE on the FMSS (EOI: p = .02; Final EE: p = .04). Furthermore, FMSS-EE ratings were positively correlated to CFI-EE ratings for EOI EE (r = .38, p = .01), Critical EE (r = .31, p = .05), and Final EE (r = .29, p = .07).


The FMSS can reliably measure EE in reference to the CFI in terms of Final EE and EOI EE. For the Critical EE subgroup, further investigation is needed with a bigger sample size. © 2006 Wiley Periodicals, Inc., Int J Eat Disord, 2006