Social psychiatry and psychiatric epidemiology vol:39 issue:7 pages:569-75
BACKGROUND: Interest has been growing over the last few years in the working conditions of professionals who deal with clients with severe and chronic mental illnesses. In this study, the relationship between the affective climate, as measured by the construct of expressed emotion, and professionals' feelings of well-being and burnout was investigated. It was hypothesised that high expressed emotion (EE) (= a high amount of criticism, hostility or emotional overinvolvement) would be related to high burnout scores. METHODS: Fifty-six professionals were interviewed about their schizophrenic clients who resided in sheltered-living houses in Flanders. EE was measured with two instruments, the Camberwell Family Interview (CFI) and the Perceived Criticism Scale (PCS). The professionals' characteristics were mental health (Symptom Checklist, SCL-90), job satisfaction (VEVAK), and burnout (a Dutch version of the Maslach Burnout Inventory, UBOS-C). RESULTS: Little indication was found for an association between EE and working conditions as measured with the CFI. For the PCS, a significant relationship was found between the resident version of the PCS and burnout. The professionals who were perceived by the residents as being very critical were less depersonalised and less emotionally exhausted than those who were not so perceived. CONCLUSIONS: High EE relationships can exist without feelings of stress and burnout.