The influence of family and social factors on the course of psychiatric illness. A comparison of schizophrenic and depressed neurotic patients.
C E Vaughn, J P Leff


This study is a replication and extension of past work carried out by Brown, Birley and Wing (1972) concerning the influence of family life on the course of schizophrenia. In the original research the index of emotion expressed by a key relative about the patient at the time of key admission proved to be the best single predictor of symptomatic relapse in the nine months after discharge from hospital. In the present study this main finding of Brown et al has been replicated for two clinically different groups of psychiatric patients. The expressed emotion of the relative again seems to be associated with relapse independently of all other social and clinical factors investigated. In addition, important additive effects between various social influences and pharmacological treatments have been revealed which make it possible to predict relapse patterns in schizophrenia with considerable precision. The patterns of these relationships with relapse are different for the two clinical groups studied, patients with schizophrenic psychosis and with depressive neurosis.