Article Text

IS THE INCREASE OF HYPOMANIC STAGES DURING ADOLESCENCE GENDER- AND DEVELOPMENTAL TASK-RELATED?
  1. S Brand1,
  2. J Angst2,
  3. E Holsboer-Trachsler1
  1. 1Psychiatric University Clinics, Depression Research Unit, Basel, Switzerland
  2. 2Zurich University Psychiatric Hospital, Zurich, Switzerland

Abstract

Objective Hypomanic states are observable among patients suffering from bipolar II and minor bipolar disorders, and in non-clinical samples. Furthermore, there is evidence that females may be at risk for developing affective disorders. We studied hypomanic stages in adolescents, focusing on ‘active/elated’ and ‘risk-taking/irritable’ hypomania scores and on gender.

Methods Of 107 adolescents (mean age: 17.98; SD = 1.33) sampled, 60 indicated they experienced intense romantic love, while 47 had a longer lasting relationship or were singles. Following a screening interview for psychiatric disorders, participants completed the Hypomania Check List (HCL-32; Angst et al, 2005). Their data were compared with those of adult patients suffering from bipolar II disorders.

Results Scores of adolescents in intense romantic love did differ from those from controls, but not from those of patients suffering from bipolar II disorders. Comparisons of factor analytic scores revealed that both groups of adolescents displayed higher overall scores for the factor ‘irritable/risk-taking’ hypomania. Furthermore, a gender-related pattern was found, with greatly increased scores for female adolescents.

Conclusions In professional contexts, adolescents’ developmental tasks surrounding experiences in social, psychosexual and substance-use-related engagement will be encountered. These experiences may lead to temporarily and gender-dependent hypomanic-like stages.

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