'Bright side' and 'dark side' hypomania are associated with differences in psychological functioning, sleep and physical activity in a non-clinical sample of young adults

J Affect Disord. 2011 Jun;131(1-3):68-78. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2010.12.007. Epub 2011 Jan 11.


Background: No research has yet focused on hypomanic states in non-clinical early adult populations. The aim of the present study was therefore to assess hypomania in a large non-clinical sample of young adults.

Methods: A total of 862 participants (639 females and 223 males; mean age: M=24.67; SD=5.91) took part in the study. They completed a series of validated self-report questionnaires assessing hypomania (HCL-32) and other aspects of psychological functioning, sleep, stress, quality of life, cognitive-emotional elaboration of pain, self-efficacy, and physical activity.

Results: Based on the HCL-32, 19% of the participants (n=169) were categorized as currently being in a hypomanic state. Of those, 57.6% were classified as "active/elated" ('bright side'), whereas 42.4% were classified as "irritable/risk-taking" ('dark side'). Compared to non-hypomanic participants and the 'bright side' group, 'dark side' hypomanic participants reported more depressive symptoms, sleep disturbances, somatic complaints, perceived stress, negative coping strategies, and lower self-efficacy. By contrast, 'bright side' hypomanic participants had lower stress scores, more positive self-instructions, and higher levels of exploration, self-efficacy, and physical activity.

Limitations: A cross-sectional design was adopted, assessing university students, who may not be representative of the stage of early adulthood.

Conclusions: The present results underscore the notion of a continuity between a mood state and both favorable ('bright side') and unfavorable ('dark side') hypomanic states. In early adulthood, 'bright' and 'dark side' hypomania differs with respect to physical activity, psychological functioning and sleep.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Bipolar Disorder / epidemiology
  • Bipolar Disorder / physiopathology
  • Bipolar Disorder / psychology*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Depression / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motor Activity
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Psychological Tests
  • Quality of Life / psychology
  • Self Efficacy
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / epidemiology
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / psychology
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Young Adult