a case series to study factors related to family expectation regarding schizophrenic patients was conducted in an out-patient setting in the city of s. paulo, brazil. patients diagnosed as presenting schizophrenia by the icd 9th edition and having had the disease for more than four years were included in the study. family expectation was measured by the difference between the katz adjustment scale (r2 and r3) scores based on the relative's expectation and the socially expected activities of the patient (discrepancy score), and social adjustment was given by the dsm-iii-r global assessment scale (gas) . outcome assessments were made independently, and 44 patients comprised the sample (25 males and 19 females). the discrepancy mean score was twice as high for males as for females (p < 0.02), and there was an inverse relationship between the discrepancy score and social adjustment (r =-0.46, p < 0.001). moreover, sex and social adjustment exerted independent effects on the discrepancy score when age, age at onset and number of psychiatric admissions were controlled by means of a multiple regression technique. there was an interaction between sex and social adjustment, the inverse relationship between social adjustment and discrepancy score being more pronounced for males. these findings are discussed in the light of the potential association between the family environment, gender and social adjustment of schizophrenic patients, and the need for further research, i.e. ethnographic accounts of interactions between patient and relatives sharing households particularly in less developed countries.