A profile approach to impulsivity in bipolar disorder: the key role of strong emotions
Article first published online: 18 APR 2013
© 2013 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd
Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica
Volume 129, Issue 2, pages 100–108, February 2014
How to Cite
A profile approach to impulsivity in bipolar disorder: the key role of strong emotions, , , , .
- Issue published online: 7 JAN 2014
- Article first published online: 18 APR 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 7 MAR 2013
- NIMH. Grant Number: RO1 076021
- bipolar disorder;
- impulsive behavior;
Bipolar disorder has been associated with elevated impulsivity – a complex construct subsuming multiple facets. We aimed to compare specific facets of impulsivity in bipolar disorder, including those related to key psychological correlates of the illness: reward sensitivity and strong emotion.
Ninety-one individuals diagnosed with bipolar I disorder (inter-episode period) and 80 controls completed several well-validated impulsivity measures, including those relevant to reward (Fun-seeking subscale of the Behavioral Activation System scale) and emotion (Positive Urgency and Negative Urgency scales).
Bipolar participants reported higher impulsivity scores than did controls on all of the impulsivity measures, except the Fun-seeking subscale of the Behavioral Activation System scale. Positive Urgency – a measure assessing the tendency to act impulsively when experiencing strong positive emotion – yielded the largest group differences: F(1,170) = 78.69, P < 0.001, partial η2 = 0.316. Positive Urgency was also associated with poorer psychosocial functioning in the bipolar group: ΔR2 = 0.24, b = −0.45, P < 0.001.
Individuals with bipolar I disorder appear to be at particular risk of behaving impulsively when experiencing strong positive emotions. Findings provide an important first step toward developing a more refined understanding of impulsivity in bipolar disorder with the potential to inform targeted interventions.