Staff-patient relationships in long-term settings were examined in 35 staff and 61 patients. Measures were also taken of the staff's general health, their coping style in relation to work events, and job satisfaction. A range of ratings of EE was evident in staff descriptions of patients under their care. Strain and criticism in the relationship were not associated with identified stressors in the workplace, or the general health of the carer. When patients were grouped according to high-EE and low-EE interviews, there were no significant differences in their symptoms. Criticism was associated with other patient characteristics, including aggressive and attention-seeking behaviour, underactivity, and limited social interaction. The findings have implications for staff training and for the maintenance of optimal staff-patient relationships in services supporting severely disabled patients.