Impact of Bipolar Disorder on a U.S. Community Sample
J Clin Psychiatry 2003;64:425-432
© Copyright 2014 Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc.
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Background: Bipolar disorder is a chronic
psychiatric illness characterized by depression and at least 1
manic or hypomanic episode during the lifetime of the illness.
Bipolar symptoms have been associated with significant functional
impairment. We conducted a study to determine the psychosocial
impact of bipolar disorder in a U.S. community sample.
Method: 3059 subjects were selected from a large
epidemiologic study of bipolar prevalence that used the Mood
Disorder Questionnaire (MDQ) to screen for bipolar I and II
disorder. Subjects were surveyed from April 24, 2001, to August
6, 2001, using the Sheehan Disability Scale and the Social
Adjustment Scale-Self Report. Comorbid disease data were also
Results: Of the 3059 subjects
surveyed, 2450 (80%) returned completed surveys: 1167 (48%)
subjects screened positive for bipolar disorder based on MDQ
scores; 1283 (52%) screened negative. MDQ-positive subjects
reported significantly (p < .0001) more difficulties with
work-related performance, social/leisure activities, and
social/family interactions compared with MDQ-negative subjects.
Younger subjects, aged 18 to 34 years, reported significantly (p
= .003) more symptom days than did older MDQ-positive subjects.
MDQ-positive women reported more disruption in social and family
life, while MDQ-positive men reported being jailed, arrested, and
convicted for crimes. Anxiety (30% vs. 6%), panic attacks (18%
vs. 4%), migraine (24% vs. 11%), asthma (17% vs. 10%), and
allergies (42% vs. 29%) were significantly (p < .05) more
common in MDQ-positive versus MDQ-negative subjects.
Conclusion: Bipolar disorder, as
identified in a community sample using the Mood Disorder
Questionnaire, was significantly associated with negative impact
on the performance of work-related, leisure, and interpersonal