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Affect intensity measure in bipolar disorders: A multidimensional approach

Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Professor Jan Scott


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Background: Emotional dysregulation, characterized by high levels of both arousal and intensity of emotional responses, is a core feature of bipolar disorders (BDs). In non clinical populations, the 40 item Affect Intensity Measure (AIM) can be used to assess the different dimensions of emotional reactivity. Methods: We analyzed the factor structure of the AIM in a sample of 310 euthymic patients with BD using Principal Component Analysis and examined associations between AIM sub scale scores and demographic and illness characteristics. Results: The French translation of the AIM demonstrated good reliability. A four factor solution similar to that reported in non clinical samples (Positive Affectivity, Unpeacefulness [lack of Serenity], Negative Reactivity, Negative Intensity), explained 47% of the total variance. Age and gender were associated with Unpeacefulness and Negative reactivity respectively. 'Unpeacefulness' was also positively associated with psychotic symptoms at onset (p=0.0006), but negatively associated with co-morbid substance misuse (p=0.008). Negative Intensity was positively associated with social phobia (p=0.0005). Limitations: We cannot definitively exclude a lack of statistical power to classify all AIM items. Euthymia was carefully defined, but a degree of 'contamination' of the self-reported levels of emotion reactivity may occur because of subsyndromal BD symptoms. It was not feasible to control for the possible impact of on-going treatments. Conclusions: The AIM scale appears to be a useful measure of emotional reactivity and intensity in a clinical sample of patients with BD, suggesting it can be used in addition to other markers of BD characteristics and sub-types. (C) 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved

Publication metadata

Author(s): Mathieu F, Etain B, Daban C, Raymond R, Raust A, Cochet B, Gard S, M'Bailara K, Desage A, Kahn JP, Wajsbrot-Elgrabli O, Cohen RF, Azorin JM, Leboyer M, Bellivier F, Scott J, Henry C

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published


Year: 2014

Volume: 157

Pages: 8-13

Print publication date: 01/03/2014

ISSN (print): 0165-0327

ISSN (electronic):


DOI: 10.1016/j.jad.2013.12.039


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