Clinical correlates of trauma spectrum and bipolar disorder

Aurora Santucci, Simone Bolognesi, Arianna Goracci, Serena Piccione, Costanza Taddeucci, Pier Francesco Laurenzi, Andrea Fagiolini

Dipartimento di Salute Mentale e Organi di Senso, Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria Senese

Objectives

To evaluate the relationships between trauma and clinical correlates, quality of life and global functioning in a sample of individuals with bipolar disorder (BD). 

Methods

65 subjects with BD type I or II, aged between 18 and 75 years, were assessed with the Clinical Global Impression – Severity (CGI-S), Trauma and Loss Spectrum Self Report (TALS-SR), Quality of life index (QL-index), and Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) scales. Data analysis were performed using SPSS version 20.0. Basic statistics were used to describe the demographic, clinical and traumatic spectrum characteristics of the participants. Pearson’s correlation analysis was performed to analyse the correlations between psychometric scores and clinical data.  The independent t-test was used to compare the two groups (BD I and BD II).

Results 

Statistically significant correlations were observed between BD severity, as measured by CGI-S, and TALS-SR mean scores in Domains pertaining to III (p < 0.01), IV (p < 0.05), VII (p < 0.01), VIII (p < 0.05) and IX (p < 0.05). No significant correlations were found between the score in the TAL-SR ‘history of trauma’ domain and number of hospitalisations, history of suicide attempts, quality of life and global functioning indexes. However, a statistically significant correlation emerged between Domain VII score and history of suicide attempts (p < 0.01). The majority of subjects (92.3%) believed that traumatic experiences had an impact on their BD symptoms.

Conclusions

Our data confirms a relationship between trauma spectrum and certain BD characteristics. The absence of a relationship between trauma history and number of hospitalisations, suicide attempts, quality of life and global functioning may be due to lack of statistical power. The significant relationship between suicide attempts and Domain VII -TALS-SR score is worth being better explored in longitudinal and prospective studies. 

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