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The research catalogue is an archive of ESRC-funded grants and outputs. Links, files and other content will no longer be maintained or updated after April 2014.

Social, psychological and genetic resilience to adversity in bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder is a mental illness which is characterised by a long-term episodic course of extreme fluctuations in mood, ranging from depression to elation or mania. This illness affects approximately 2 per cent of the population. Research shows that adversity (stressful life events and childhood maltreatment) are related to both the onset and the course of bipolar disorder. 

The objective of this research project is to explore the factors which make individuals with bipolar disorder resilient to such adversity, focusing on the role of good social support (highly available and good quality close relationships), genetic factors and positive cognitive styles (the optimistic and positive interpretation of negative experiences). 

The objectives of this research will be addressed with data from a large genetic study of bipolar disorder, where participants completed questionnaires concerning their social support, cognitive style and childhood maltreatment, and the experience of stressful life events were assessed using a semi-structured interview. Participants also provided DNA samples for genetic analyses. 

The results of this research project promises to broaden our understanding of bipolar disorder and its relationship to adversity, in the long-term the findings may also have relevance for the development of more targeted and effective intervention and treatment strategies. 

  • Outputs (16)