BACKGROUND The Level of Expressed Emotion scale (LEE) is a questionnaire designed to measure the perception of expressed emotion, an important predictor of the course of several psychiatric disorders.
METHOD In this study, the scale's predictive and construct validity were examined in a sample of 26 clinically depressed out-patients and their partners, and in a sample of 40 couples from the general community.
RESULTS In the sample of depressed out-patients, the LEE was predictive of depression improvement at six-month follow-up. With regard to the construct validity, results in both samples showed quite strong relationships between the LEE and depressive symptomatology, relational dissatisfaction, and coping styles.
CONCLUSIONS The LEE may be a useful tool in the study of interpersonal processes and depression, both in clinical and research settings.