What basic emotions are experienced in bipolar disorder and how are they are regulated
Introduction: There remains a lack of theoretical models which can adequately account for the key features of bipolar disorders (Power, 2005). Objectives: Firstly, to test the predictions made by the SPAARS model that mania is predominantly characterised by the coupling of happiness with anger, while depression (unipolar and bipolar) primarily comprises of a coupling between sadness and disgust. Secondly, to investigate and compare the coping strategies employed to regulate positive and negative emotion between bipolar, unipolar and control groups. Design: A cross sectional design was employed to examine the differences within and between the bipolar, unipolar and control groups in the emotions experienced and the strategies used to regulate emotion. Data were analysed using ANOVAs. Method: Psychiatric diagnoses in the clinical groups were confirmed using the SCID. Current mood state was measured using the BDI-II, STAI and the MAS. The Basic Emotion Scale was used to explore the emotional profiles and the Regulation of Emotion Questionnaire was used to measure coping strategies. Results: The results confirmed the predictions made by the SPAARS model about the emotions in mania and depression. Elevated levels of disgust were also found in the bipolar group generally. The clinical groups used internal dysfunctional strategies more often than the controls for negative emotion. The bipolar group used external dysfunctional strategies more frequently than the controls for positive emotion. Conclusion: The results support the predictions made by the SPAARS model and suggest that disgust plays a key role in bipolar disorder. Strengths and limitations are discussed and suggestions for future research are explored.