Affective temperaments and concomitant alcohol use disorders in bipolar disorder

Sukhmeet Singh, Liz Forty, Arianna Di Florio, Katherine Gordon-smith, Nick Craddock, Lisa Jones, Daniel J. Smith, Ian R G Jones

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13 Citations (Scopus)
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BackgroundAlcohol misuse (AM) is more common in bipolar disorder (BD) than within the general population but the mechanisms of this association are unclear. We hypothesized that certain affective temperaments (including hyperthymic, cyclothymic, anxious, depressive and/or irritability) might represent ‘fundamental states’ contributing to risk of both AM and BD and we aimed to assess whether extremes of these five affective temperaments were associated with BD and concomitant AM status.MethodsOur sample comprised 1420 individuals with BD who were recruited into a clinical-genetic study conducted by the Bipolar Disorder Research Network. Phenotypic assessments, including evaluation for AM and the 32-item TEMPS-A questionnaire, were conducted. Binary logistic regression was used to determine the effect of TEMPS-A scores on the likelihood of concomitant AM, with adjustment for confounders.ResultsMean scores for four affective temperaments (hyperthymic, cyclothymic, depressive and irritable) were higher in cases (BD+AMs) than controls (BD only) (p<0.001). Hyperthymic and irritable temperaments in particular significantly increased the odds of concomitant AM within the BD sample after adjustment for potential confounders.LimitationsThe definition of AM was not directly based on formal diagnostic classification systems. A retrospective, cross-sectional design was used. Our findings may not generalize to other countries and cultures.ConclusionsHigher scores on measures of hyperthymic and irritable temperament may contribute to the association between AM and BD. Assessing affective temperaments early in the course of BD may help to predict the development of an AM problem in vulnerable individuals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)226-231
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Early online date29 Jul 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2015


  • Bipolar disorder
  • Alcohol misuse
  • Affective temperament


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