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The reciprocal relationship between Bipolar Disorder and social interaction: A qualitative investigation.

Owen, Rebecca and Gooding, Patricia and Dempsey, Robert and Jones, Steven (2016) The reciprocal relationship between Bipolar Disorder and social interaction: A qualitative investigation. Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy. ISSN 1063-3995 (In Press)

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Abstract or description

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: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Bipolar; family, social; caregiver; psychosocial.
Faculty: Previous Faculty of Health Sciences > Psychology, Sport and Exercise
Depositing User: Robert DEMPSEY
Date Deposited: 20 Oct 2016 13:51
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2017 11:24
URI: http://eprints.staffs.ac.uk/id/eprint/2645

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