Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science
School of Psychology and Social Science/Psychopathology Research Group
This study investigated the profile of emotion dysregulation in Bipolar Disorder (BD) and com- pared it to Unipolar Depression, Anxiety, and Heal- thy control groups. Methods: 148 euthymic patients diagnosed with BD (n = 48), Unipolar Depressive dis- order (n = 50), Anxiety disorder (n = 50), and a Healthy Control (HC) group (n = 48) were evaluated using the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale (DERS). The DERS yields a total score in addition to scores on six subcomponents believed to encapsulate the emotion dysregulation construct. Results: Com- pared to the healthy control group, all clinical groups (BD, Unipolar Depression, and Anxiety) reported significantly greater overall difficulties in emotion re- gulation (Total DERS) and difficulties specific to the DERS subcomponent measures: Goals, Impulse, and Strategies. The profile of emotion dysregulation was virtually identical for the Unipolar Depression and Anxiety groups, with BD demonstrating emotion regulation difficulties intermediate between controls and the two clinical groups. Specifically, emotion re- gulation in the BD group was significantly less com-promised in the domains of acceptance of emotions, emotional awareness, and emotional clarity com- pared to the depression and anxiety groups. Conclu- sions: Emotion regulation abilities among people with euthymic BD were significantly less compromised than Unipolar Depression and Anxiety groups with regards to emotional awareness, acceptance of emo- tions, and understanding of emotions. However, emo- tion regulation abilities pertaining to engagement in goal directed behaviour, impulse control, and access to emotion regulation strategies were similarly com- promised across all three clinical groups. This profile might help enrich extant adjunct psychological in- terventions for BD by enlisting emotion regulation strategies with the aim of decreasing the relapse rate that characterises BD.