Affective temperament and attachment in adulthood in patients with Bipolar Disorder and Cyclothymia

Compr Psychiatry. 2014 May;55(4):999-1006. doi: 10.1016/j.comppsych.2013.12.006. Epub 2013 Dec 10.


Objective: To examine attachment and affective temperament in patients who have been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and to investigate possible differences in both variables among Bipolar I Disorder (BD-I), Bipolar II Disorder (BD-II), and cyclothymic patients.

Methods: Ninety (45 male and 45 female) outpatients with bipolar or cyclothymic disorder between the ages of 18 and 65years were recruited consecutively between September 2010 and December 2011 at the Bipolar Disorder Unit of the Psychiatry Day Hospital affiliated with the University General Hospital "A. Gemelli" in Rome, Italy. Patients were assessed using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV, the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, the Young Mania Rating Scale, the Temperament Evaluation of Memphis, Pisa, and San Diego-auto-questionnaire version, and the Experiences in Close Relationships (ECR) questionnaire applied by trained interviewers.

Results: The 3 groups of patients differed only on the ECR Anxiety scores with BD-I patients having the highest anxiety levels, followed by the BD-II patients, and the patients with cyclothymic disorder reporting the lowest level of anxiety.

Conclusions: This finding suggests that bipolar disorder (type I, type II) and cyclothymic/dysthymic temperament are more strongly associated with insecure attachment style as compared to the general population.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Affect*
  • Aged
  • Anxiety / complications
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Bipolar Disorder / complications
  • Bipolar Disorder / psychology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cyclothymic Disorder / complications
  • Cyclothymic Disorder / psychology*
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Object Attachment*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Temperament*
  • Young Adult