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Predictors of longitudinal psychosocial functioning in bipolar youth transitioning to adults



In a sample of participants diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder (BD) in youth, we aim: (1) to examine longitudinal psychosocial functioning; (2) to determine whether psychosocial impairment remains in those who remitted from mood disorders during later periods of follow-up; (3) to examine predictors of psychosocial impairment despite symptomatic remission.


A Course and Outcome of Bipolar Youth subsample of 367 (≥ 4 years follow-up data) were grouped into mood trajectories: Class 1 Predominantly Euthymic; Class 2 Moderately Euthymic; Class 3 Ill with Improving Course; Class 4 Predominantly Ill. Psychosocial functioning was assessed via Children's Global Assessment Scale (C-GAS) for those under age 22; Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) scale after 22. Current school, employment, and disability status were examined. Established predictors of symptomatic impairment were analyzed.


The Predominantly Euthymic Class had better psychosocial functioning, and were more likely to be in school/employed. The Persistently Ill Class had worse psychosocial functioning, and were more likely to receive disability. However, 44% of Predominantly Euthymic and 93% of Ill with Improving Course participants continued to experience current psychosocial impairment. Early BD onset, low Socioeconomic Status (SES), and current comorbidity, predicted poor psychosocial functioning. Low SES, and current comorbidity, predicted no school enrollment/unemployment.


The study does not have a healthy control group to compare functioning findings.


In general, youth with persistent mood symptoms had worse psychosocial functioning, moreover, those with remitted symptoms still exhibited current psychosocial functioning deficits. High risk individuals with predictors of impairment should be targeted for functioning interventions.

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