Charles S. Carver

Johnson, S. L., & Carver, C.S. (2016). Emotion-relevant impulsivity predicts sustained anger and aggression after remission in bipolar I disorder. Journal of Affective Disorders, 189, 169-175.

Recent evidence suggests that anger and aggression are of concern even during remission for persons with bipolar I disorder, although there is substantial variability in the degree of anger and aggression across individuals. Little research is available to examine psychological models of anger and aggression for those with remitted bipolar disorder, and that was the goal of this study. Participants were 58 persons diagnosed with bipolar I disorder using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV, who were followed with monthly symptom severity interviews until they achieved remission, and then assessed using the Aggression-Short Form. We examined traditional predictors of clinical parameters and trauma exposure, and then considered three trait domains that have been shown to be elevated in bipolar disorder and have also been linked to aggression outside of bipolar disorder: emotion-relevant impulsivity, approach motivation, and dominance-related constructs. Emotion-relevant impulsivity was related to anger, hostility, verbal aggression, and physical aggression, even after controlling for clinical variables. Findings extend the importance of emotion-relevant impulsivity to another important clinical outcome and suggest the promise of using psychological models to understand the factors driving aggression and anger problems that persist into remission among persons with bipolar disorder.

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