Psychological treatments may have differential impacts on bipolar (BP) sub-types, yet little is known about psychological processes in BP II disorder. We explored cognitive processes and behaviors mediating hypomania and depression in participants diagnosed with BP II disorder. Semi-structured interviews with 13 participants were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. The majority were able to detect hypomanic and depressive prodromes, and describe behavioral responses to these mood states. Qualitative analyses revealed four theme clusters. Hypomania ascent beliefs described beliefs regarding identity, positioning hypomania as an enjoyable state preferable to depression. Hypomania descent beliefs referred to hypomania as a signal for depression, causing interpersonal difficulties. Beliefs about depression positioned depression as an abnormal, fearful state, impacting negatively interpersonally, occupationally and on self-perceptions. Finally, The impact of chronicity referred to shifts in coping strategies over time, moving from maladaptive to adaptive behavioral responses. Themes were interpreted within the framework of a cognitive model of BP disorder. Clinical implications for BP II disorder were discussed.
Psychiatric Quarterly – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 10, 2013
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