We evaluated the feasibility and acceptability of a two week-long ecological momentary intervention (EMI), delivered via personal digital assistants (PDAs), to improve treatment adherence in bipolar disorder. EMIs use mobile technology to deliver treatment as clients engage in their typical daily routines, in their usual settings. Overall, participants (N = 14) stated that EMI sessions were helpful, user-friendly, and engaging, and reported satisfaction with the timing and burden of sessions, as well as the method of delivery. All participants completed the study and all PDAs were returned undamaged. On average, participants completed 92% of EMI sessions. Although this study was not designed to assess efficacy, depression scores decreased significantly over the study period and data suggest relatively high rates of treatment adherence; missed medication was reported 3% of the time and 3 participants reported missing a total of 6 mental health appointments. Negative feedback largely involved technical and logistical issues, many of which are easily addressable. These preliminary findings add to the growing body of literature indicating that mobile technology-assisted interventions are feasible to implement and acceptable to patients with serious mental illnesses.
The authors used experience sampling to investigate biases in affective forecasting and recall in individuals with varying levels of depression and anxiety symptoms. Participants who were higher in depression symptoms demonstrated stronger (more pessimistic) negative mood prediction biases, marginally stronger negative mood recall biases, and weaker (less optimistic) positive mood prediction and recall biases. Participants who were higher in anxiety symptoms demonstrated stronger negative mood prediction biases, but positive mood prediction biases that were on par with those who were lower in anxiety. Anxiety symptoms were not associated with mood recall biases. Neither depression symptoms nor anxiety symptoms were associated with bias in event prediction. Their findings fit well with the tripartite model of depression and anxiety. Results are also consistent with the conceptualization of anxiety as a "forward-looking" disorder, and with theories that emphasize the importance of pessimism and general negative information processing in depressive functioning.
We evaluated the feasibility and acceptability of a novel, 12 week, adjunctive, smartphone-assisted intervention to improve treatment adherence in bipolar disorder (BD). Eight participants completed 4 in-person individual therapy sessions over the course of a month, followed by 60 days of twice-daily ecological momentary intervention (EMI) sessions, with a fifth in-person session after 30 days and a sixth in-person session after 60 days. Perceived credibility of the intervention and expectancy for change were adequate at baseline, and satisfaction on completion of the intervention was very high. Participants demonstrated good adherence to the intervention overall, including excellent adherence to the in-person component and fair adherence to the smartphone-facilitated component. Qualitative feedback revealed very high satisfaction with the in-person sessions and suggested a broad range of ways in which the EMI sessions were helpful. Participants also provided suggestions for improving the intervention, which primarily related to the structure and administration of the EMI (smartphone-administered) sessions. Although this study was not designed to evaluate treatment efficacy, most key outcome variables changed in the expected directions from pre- to post-treatment, and several variables changed significantly over the course of the in-person sessions or during the EMI phase. These findings add to the small but growing body of literature suggesting that EMIs are feasible and acceptable for use in populations with BD.
Impulsivity and hostility are often thought to be interrelated among depressed patients with suicidal behavior, but few studies have examined this relationship empirically. In this study, we assessed trait impulsivity and hostility among 52 DSM-IV bipolar subjects with and without histories of suicide attempts. Impulsivity and hostility were correlated among attempters (r = .41, p = .03) but not non-attempters (r = .22, p = .28). As compared to non-attempters, attempters had significantly higher levels of overall hostility, more extensive subcomponents of hostility, and a trend toward higher overall impulsivity. Associations between lifetime suicide attempts and overall hostility were significant while controlling for current depression severity and lifetime illness duration. Aggression and impulsivity appear linked among bipolar patients with lifetime suicide attempts but may be independent constructs among non-attempters. The presence of both factors may elevate risk for suicidal behavior.
This study evaluated the predictive role of depressed outpatients' (N = 62) affective reactivity to daily stressors in their rates of improvement in cognitive therapy (CT). For 1 week before treatment, patients completed nightly electronic diaries that assessed daily stressors and negative affect (NA). The authors used multilevel modeling to compute each patient's within-day relationship between daily stressors and daily NA (within-day reactivity), as well as the relationship between daily stressors and next-day NA (next-day reactivity; affective spillover). In growth model analyses, the authors evaluated the predictive role of patients' NA reactivity in their early (Sessions 1-4) and late (Sessions 5-12) response to CT. Within-day NA reactivity did not predict early or late response to CT. However, next-day reactivity predicted early response to CT, such that patients who had greater NA spillover in response to negative events had a slower rate of symptom change during the first 4 sessions. Affective spillover did not influence later response to CT. The findings suggest that depressed patients who have difficulty bouncing back the next day from their NA reactions to a relative increase in daily negative events will respond less quickly to the early sessions of CT.
Dysfunctional thought patterns are presumed to underlie cognitive biases in mood disorder patients. However, few studies have compared dysfunctional thought patterns in bipolar manic and unipolar depressed patients. Cognitive schemas and dysfunctional attitudes were evaluated using the cognitive checklist for mania and Dysfunctional Attitudes Scale (DAS) in 34 bipolar manic, 35 unipolar depressed, and 29 nonpsychiatric control subjects. Unipolar depressed subjects had significantly higher total DAS scores and subfactor scores as compared with nonpsychiatric controls, whereas bipolar patients had intermediate scores between both groups. Significant correlations emerged between cognitive checklist for mania total and subcomponent scores and the DAS (total, performance subfactor, and approval subfactor scales) for the bipolar, but not the unipolar or nonpsychiatric control groups. Core beliefs among bipolar patients appear negativistic during manic phases, potentially reflecting an overcompensation for depression. The findings support clinical approaches targeting depressive cognitions regardless of the presence of manic symptoms.
The rate of twin and higher-order gestation births has risen dramatically in recent decades in the United States as well as other Western countries. Although the obstetrical and neonatal risks of multiple gestation pregnancies are well-documented, much less is known regarding the mental health impact on parents of multiples during the perinatal and early parenthood period. Given that parents of multiples face greater functional demands, as well as other pressures (financial, medical) this population may be at risk for heightened distress. We conducted a systematic review of quantitative, English language studies that assessed mental health outcomes of parents of multiples during pregnancy, in the first postpartum year, and in the period of early parenthood, including depression, anxiety, stress, and related constructs. Twenty-seven articles published between 1989 and 2014 met selection criteria and were included in the review. Studies utilized a wide range of methods and outcome constructs, often making comparisons difficult. Although some studies found no differences, most investigations that compared mental health outcomes in parents of multiples versus parents of singletons found that parents of multiples experience heightened symptoms of depression, anxiety, and parenting stress. We discuss gaps in the existing body of literature on parental mental health related to multiple gestation birth and conclude by discussing the need for novel intervention strategies to meet the needs of this growing population. Parents of multiples may experience worse mental health outcomes than parents of singletons. More research is needed, and future work should explore potential treatment and support options.
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