Psychosocial predictors of mood symptoms 1 year after acute phase treatment of bipolar I disorder
Objective: The aim of the current study was to evaluate family functioning, social support, and functional impairment as predictors of mood symptoms 1 year after acute phase treatment of bipolar I disorder. This study builds upon the extant literature by evaluating these putative psychosocial risk factors simultaneously to determine whether they account for unique variance in clinical outcomes. Method: Patients (N = 92) were recruited from hospital settings during an acute mood episode to participate in pharmacologic or combined family and pharmacologic interventions. The Modified Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression, Bech-Rafaelson Mania Scale, Family Assessment Device, Interpersonal Support Evaluation List, and UCLA Social Attainment Survey were administered at acute phase treatment completion and again at 1-year follow-up. Controlling for mood symptom severity at acute phase treatment completion, multiple regression analyses were used to examine longitudinal associations between the psychosocial variables and subsequent depressive and manic symptoms. Results: None of the aforementioned psychosocial variables predicted manic symptomatology, and social support alone emerged as a unique predictor of depression at the 1-year follow-up. Effects of social support were moderated by recovery status, such that the strength of association between social support and subsequent depression was stronger for those who had not fully recovered during the acute phase of treatment than for those who had. Conclusions: Low levels of social support at acute phase treatment completion, especially in concert with residual symptomatology, may place individuals with bipolar I disorder at risk for subsequent depressive symptoms. These data suggest that maintenance therapies focused on improving level of social support might be especially important to consider in the management of bipolar depression, and add to a growing literature focused on unique vs shared effects of psychosocial risk factors for poor illness course in bipolar disorder.