No strong evidence for abnormal levels of dysfunctional attitudes, automatic thoughts, and emotional information-processing biases in remitted bipolar I affective disorder


Correspondence should be addressed to Claudia Lex, Department of Psychiatry, Medical University of Vienna, Waehringer Guertel 18-20, A-1090 Vienna, Austria (e-mail:


Introduction. Beck extended his original cognitive theory of depression by suggesting that mania was a mirror image of depression characterized by extreme positive cognition about the self, the world, and the future. However, there were no suggestions what might be special regarding cognitive features in bipolar patients (Mansell & Scott, 2006). We therefore used different indicators to evaluate cognitive processes in bipolar patients and healthy controls.

Methods. We compared 19 remitted bipolar I patients (BPs) without any Axis I comorbidity with 19 healthy individuals (CG). All participants completed the Beck Depression Inventory, the Dysfunctional Attitude Scale, the Automatic Thoughts Questionnaire, the Emotional Stroop Test, and an incidental recall task.

Results. No significant group differences were found in automatic thinking and the information-processing styles (Emotional Stroop Test, incidental recall task). Regarding dysfunctional attitudes, we obtained ambiguous results.

Conclusions. It appears that individuals with remitted bipolar affective disorder do not show cognitive vulnerability as proposed in Beck's theory of depression if they only report subthreshold levels of depressive symptoms. Perhaps, the cognitive vulnerability might only be observable if mood induction procedures are used.