The reciprocal relationship between bipolar disorder and social interaction : a qualitative investigation

Owen, Rebecca Louise and Gooding, Patricia and Dempsey, Robert and Jones, Steven Huntley (2017) The reciprocal relationship between bipolar disorder and social interaction : a qualitative investigation. Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, 24 (4). pp. 911-918. ISSN 1063-3995

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BACKGROUND: Evidence suggests that social support can influence relapse rates, functioning and various clinical outcomes in people with bipolar disorder. Yet 'social support' is a poorly defined construct, and the mechanisms by which it affects illness course in bipolar disorder remain largely unknown. Key aims of this study were to ascertain which facets of social interaction affect mood management in bipolar disorder, and how symptoms of bipolar disorder can influence the level of support received. METHOD: Semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with 20 individuals with bipolar disorder. Questions were designed to elicit: the effects of social interaction upon the management and course of bipolar disorder; and the impact of bipolar disorder upon social relationships. An inductive thematic analysis was used to analyse the data. RESULTS: Empathy and understanding from another person can make it easier to cope with bipolar disorder. Social interaction can also provide opportunities to challenge negative ruminative thoughts and prevent the onset of a major mood episode. The loss of social support, particularly through bereavement, creates a loss of control and can trigger mania or depression. Hypomanic symptoms can facilitate new social connections, whereas disinhibited and risky behaviour exhibited during mania can cause the breakdown of vital relationships. CONCLUSIONS: An in-depth clinical formulation of an individual's perceptions of how their illness affects and is affected by social interaction is crucial to understanding psychosocial factors which influence mood management. These results have clear application in interventions which aim to promote improved wellbeing and social functioning in bipolar disorder.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy
Additional Information:
This is the peer reviewed version of the following article:Owen, R., Gooding, P., Dempsey, R., and Jones, S. (2017) The Reciprocal Relationship between Bipolar Disorder and Social Interaction: A Qualitative Investigation. Clin. Psychol. Psychother., 24: 911–918. doi: 10.1002/cpp.2055 which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? bipolarfamilysocialcaregiverpsychosocialclinical psychology ??
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Deposited On:
22 Mar 2017 13:30
Last Modified:
21 Mar 2024 00:43