Charles S. Carver

Johnson, S. L., Fulford, D., & Carver, C. S. (2012). The double-edged sword of goal engagement: Consequences of goal pursuit in bipolar disorder. Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, 19, 352-362.

A series of studies suggest that bipolar disorder is related to high sensitivity to incentives, and that incentive sensitivity (or sensitivity of the approach system) can predict the course of mania. Incentive sensitivity in bipolar disorder seems to be related to two processes: a tendency to invest in difficult-to-attain goals, and an over-reactivity to cues of goal progress versus thwarting. Both of those processes appear relevant to symptom generation. Hence bipolar disorder seems related to a greater emphasis on reaching goals, and also a problematic reactivity to reaching those highly desired goals. We suggest directions for treatment development focused on these issues in goal regulation.

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