Polarity at illness onset in bipolar I disorder and clinical course of illness

L Forty, Lisa Jones, I Jones, DJ Smith, Elizabeth Caesar, C Fraser, Katherine Gordon-Smith, S Hyde, N Craddock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

45 Citations (Scopus)


Studies have suggested that episode polarity at illness onset in bipolar disorder may be predictive of some aspects of lifetime clinical characteristics. We here examine this possibility in a large, well-characterized sample of patients with bipolar I disorder. We assessed polarity at onset in patients with bipolar I disorder (N = 553) recruited as part of our ongoing studies of affective disorders. Lifetime clinical characteristics of illness were compared in patients who had a depressive episode at first illness onset (n = 343) and patients who had a manic episode at first illness onset (n = 210). Several lifetime clinical features differed between patients according to the polarity of their onset episode of illness. A logistic regression analysis showed that the lifetime clinical features significantly associated with a depressive episode at illness onset in our sample were: an earlier age at illness onset; a predominantly depressive polarity during the lifetime; more frequent and more severe depressive episodes; and less prominent lifetime psychotic features. Knowledge of pole of onset may help the clinician in providing prognostic information and management advice to an individual with bipolar disorder.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-88
Number of pages7
JournalBipolar Disorders
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2009


  • onset polarity
  • bipolar disorder
  • affective disorder
  • mania
  • depression


Dive into the research topics of 'Polarity at illness onset in bipolar I disorder and clinical course of illness'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this