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A bidirectional examination of expressed emotion among families of adolescents with bulimia nervosa


  • Supported by R01-MH-070620 from NIH grant



The purpose of this paper was to examine expressed emotion (EE) measured from adolescents with bulimia nervosa (BN) toward their parents, in addition to measuring EE from parents toward patients.


Fifty-four adolescents and their parents who were receiving treatment for BN participated in a videotaped family interview, from which ratings of EE were made.


Parent and patient scores were highly correlated. Four family profiles were created (Low Patient EE/Low Parent EE; High Patient EE/High Parent EE; Low Patient EE/High Parent EE; High Patient EE/Low Parent EE) to determine whether the match between parent and patient EE was related to treatment outcome. The Low Patient EE/Low Parent EE group demonstrated the greatest reduction in purging from baseline to end-of-treatment; the High Patient EE/Low Parent EE group showed the smallest reduction in purging.


EE has historically been rated from relatives toward patients, but patients' own EE may also be related to treatment outcome. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2015; 48:249–252)