Coping with amplified emotionality among people with bipolar disorder: A longitudinal study

Sunny H.W. CHAN (Corresponding Author), Samson TSE

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The amplified emotionality characteristics of bipolar disorder (BD) may interfere with goal pursuit in the recovery process. This is the first study to test the coping flexibility model empirically among people with BD. Finding ways to cope with goal-striving life events should shed light on managing elevated mood states. Methods: Using a 12-month longitudinal follow-up design, this study examined the stability in coping flexibility with experimentally-devised Behavioral Approach System (BAS) activating life events and mood states at 6- and 12-month time points for individuals with BD (n = 83) and healthy controls (n = 89). Hierarchical linear modeling tested the individual growth model by studying the longitudinal data. Results: The findings showed fluctuations in different components of coping flexibility and mood states across time. They confirmed the amplified emotionality characteristics of BD. Moreover, coping flexibility took precedence over BAS sensitivity and psychosocial functioning levels in predicting mood states. Limitations: Measurements of BAS sensitivity may focus on trait nature only and prone to subjective bias. The assessment of mood or coping flexibility may not accurately capture actual experience in daily life. Lack of respective data on bipolar subtypes and significant differences in some dimensions between the BD and control groups are further limitations of the study. Conclusions: The study's findings have implications for coping with amplified emotionality within the personal recovery process for people with BD. Judicious application of coping strategies and adjustment of perceived controllability are crucial for individuals to reach goals pertinent to personal recovery and manage potential manic mood symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-312
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2018


  • Amplified emotionality
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Coping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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