• life stress;
  • mood disorder;
  • prognosis;
  • child abuse;
  • bipolar disorder

Daruy-Filho L, Brietzke E, Lafer B, Grassi-Oliveira R. Childhood maltreatment and clinical outcomes of bipolar disorder.

Objective:  Adverse life events, especially early trauma, play a major role in the course and expression of bipolar disorder (BD). The aim of this article is to present a systematic review about the impact of childhood trauma on the clinical course of BD.

Method:  A computer-aided search was performed in Medline, ISI database, EMBASE, PsychInfo, Centre for Reviews and Dissemination, and Databases of Thomson Reuters at April 2011, supplemented by works identified from the reference lists of the first selected papers. Two investigators systematically and independently examined all articles, selecting those according inclusion and exclusion criteria.

Results:  Four hundred fifteen articles were identified, of which 19 remained in the review after exclusion criteria were applied. In general, childhood maltreatment predicted worsening clinical course of BD. After assessing the quality of the data and of the measurements, childhood maltreatment can be strongly associated to early onset of disorder, suicidality, and substance abuse disorder in patients with BD.

Conclusion:  Data suggest that childhood abuse and neglect are risk factors associated with worsening clinical course of BD. The conclusions should be interpreted with caution because all the studies included are cross-sectional and the majority are showing inconsistencies regarding childhood trauma as independent variable and how it is assessed.