P1: FPX-FVI/FXR P2: GCG
Psychiatric Quarterly [psaq] PH015-294628 March 30, 2001 12:26 Style ﬁle version Nov. 19th, 1999
Psychiatric Quarterly, Vol. 72, No. 2, 2001
PATIENTS’ PERCEPTIONS OF THEIR
BIPOLAR ILLNESS IN A PUBLIC
Linda E. Pollack, Ph.D., and Miriam Aponte, M.D.
This preliminary study explored the perceptions of illness of people in a public
hospital setting for treatment of bipolar disorder. Fifteen inpatients (5 African
Americans, 5 Hispanics, and 5 European Americans) participated in audio-
recorded, structured interviews. The interviews were designed to identify re-
curring themes and patterns in their perceptions of bipolar disorder and to
assess their cognitive representations of the illness. The interviews were tran-
scribed verbatim, and content analysis procedures were used to identify the
illness perceptions and to compare them based upon ethnic orientation. Re-
sults indicated that most of the participants’ group responses were more alike
than they were different. However, discrete themes emerged among the indi-
viduals as their stories unfolded. These themes, and the perceived beneﬁt of
the interview itself, provide a beginning foundation for further research in the
area, and have clinical relevance for health care providers working with this
KEY WORDS: bipolar disorder; perception of illness; content analysis.
Linda E. Pollack, Ph.D., is with the University of Texas—Houston Health Science Cen-
ter, School of Nursing. Miriam Aponte, M.D., is with the University of Texas—Houston
Health Science Center, Department of Psychiatry.
Address correspondence to Linda E. Pollack, Ph.D., UT-H Health Science Center, School
of Nursing, 1100 Holcombe Boulevard, 5.540, Houston, TX 77030.
2001 Human Sciences Press, Inc.