Self-esteem in remitted bipolar disorder patients: a meta-analysis


  • The authors of this paper do not have any commercial associations that might pose a conflict of interest in connection with this manuscript.

Corresponding author:
Kristine Kahr Nilsson
Department of Psychology
Aarhus University
Jens Chr. Skousvej 4
8000 Aarhus, Denmark
Fax: +45 89 42 4901


Nilsson KK, Jørgensen CR, Craig TKJ, Straarup KN, Licht RW. Self-esteem in remitted bipolar disorder patients: a meta-analysis.
Bipolar Disord 2010: 12: 585–592. © 2010 The Authors.
Journal compilation © 2010 John Wiley & Sons A/S.

Objectives:  Low self-esteem has been found to be a risk factor for depression in major depressive disorder (MDD). In contrast, the role of self-esteem in bipolar disorder (BD) is still uncertain. In order to examine the characteristics of self-esteem in BD, we synthesized studies comparing self-esteem in BD patients with self-esteem in MDD patients and in normal controls.

Methods:  Database searches and identification of studies were conducted by two of the authors independently. Remission of BD and MDD was a major selection criterion. The results were generated through meta-analyses.

Results:  Random-effects models of 19 between-group comparisons (N = 1,838) suggested that the self-esteem of remitted BD patients was significantly lower than that of normal controls (Cohen’s d = −0.83), while significantly higher than that of remitted MDD patients (Cohen’s d = 0.54). Fail-safe numbers and tests for funnel plot asymmetry indicated that the results were robust and unlikely to reflect publication biases. Additional studies indicated that self-esteem may take a fluctuating course during remission of BD.

Conclusions:  By revealing that BD patients do experience low self-esteem, the findings implicate a need for further understanding the causes and therapeutic impact of such abnormality in BD.