Int J Bipolar Disord. 2022 Jun 23;10(1):16. doi: 10.1186/s40345-022-00262-8.


BACKGROUND: Some studies suggest a mood-congruent attentional bias in bipolar patients. However, for euthymic patients, especially in dependence on the predominant polarity, there is little and inconsistent data. A clearer understanding of emotion-related attentional biases and their relationship to dysfunctional emotion regulation could help improving the diagnostics and treatment of bipolar disorder (BD). Twenty bipolar patients in a depressive state (BP-acute-D), 32 euthymic patients with manic (BP-euth-M) or depressive (BP-euth-D) predominant polarity, and 20 healthy control participants (HC) performed a dot-probe task (DPT) with happy and sad faces presented for 250 ms or 1250 ms in two different runs. Emotion regulation strategies were assessed with two questionnaires.

RESULTS: In the short presentation condition of the DPT, BP-euth-M showed less attention for happy faces than HC (p = .03, r = – 0.48). BP-acute-D scored lower in cognitive reappraisal and putting into perspective and higher in suppression, catastrophizing, and rumination than HC. BP-euth-M scored higher in rumination and BP-euth-D lower in putting into perspective and higher in catastrophizing than HC. In BP-euth-D and HC, bias scores for sad faces in the longer presentation condition and reappraisal scores correlated positively.

CONCLUSIONS: Results of the DPT suggest an avoidance of happy faces for BP-euth-M which we interpret as a protection mechanism for triggers of mania. That individuals who apply more reappraisal show more selective attention to sad faces could on the one hand reflect a mental effort in reevaluating the sad emotional input and on the other hand a greater tolerance for it.

PMID:35739323 | DOI:10.1186/s40345-022-00262-8