Hypomanic Personality, Stability of Self-Esteem and Response Styles to Negative Mood


Richard P. Bentall, Department of Mental, Health and Well-being, Institute of Psychology, Health and Society, University of Liverpool, Waterhouse Building, 1-5 Brownlow Street, Liverpool L69 3GL, UK.

E-mail: Richard.Bentall@liverpool.ac.uk



This paper aims to study dysfunctional self-schematic processes, abnormal coping styles, over-responsiveness to reward stimuli (indicative of an over-sensitive behavioural activation system) and stability of self-esteem in relation to subclinical hypomania.


Three cross-sectional studies were conducted on selected students on the basis of their scores on the Hypomanic Personality Scale (HPS) (study 1) and on elevated HPS and Dysfunctional Attitude Scale scores (studies 2 and 3).


In studies 1 and 2, participants completed questionnaires and kept a self-esteem diary for 6 days. In study 3, the experience sampling method was used to assess momentary self-esteem, emotion and use of different coping styles over a 6-day period.


Study 1 demonstrated that hypomanic traits are associated with high fluctuations in self-esteem. In study 2, high scores on both the HPS and the Dysfunctional Attitude Scale, but not the HPS alone, were associated with bipolar spectrum symptoms. These participants showed more evidence of alcohol and substance abuse, greater self-esteem fluctuation and dysfunctional coping styles (rumination and risk-taking) compared with controls. Changes in self-esteem were related to the use of these strategies.


Vulnerability to bipolar disorder is associated with a combination of depression-related and reward-related processes. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.