Quality of life impairment in bipolar disorder

  • Erin E. Michalak
  • Greg Murray
  • Allan H. Young
  • Raymond W. Lam


This chapter will present an overview of what is currently known about quality of life (QoL) in bipolar disorder (BD). While there is growing consensus that the QoL concept provides an important counterpoint to the objective symptom measures that dominate psychiatry, the implications of this position are yet to be systematically addressed in the BD field. The literature reviewed in this chapter is not informed by any model or theory of QoL as it applies to BD. The data presented are largely empirical in the negative sense of this term, drawn from studies making different assumptions, addressing different questions in BD. In many cases, the measurement of QoL has been incidental to the major thrust of the research design. Indeed, even at the empirical level there is a lack of agreement about the best measure of QoL in this population, and no disorder-specific measure currently exists. In this context, the present chapter aims to capture the range of applications of the QoL concept in BD, and highlight any reliable findings. To structure the presentation, it is useful to categorize data into three general areas: studies that have looked at QoL impairment in BD compared with non-clinical and other diagnostic groups, studies that have looked at QoL differences across the states of BD and studies that have looked at QoL changes as an outcome of treatment. We will briefly set the scene for these three investigations by presenting the findings of four manuscripts that have reviewed research into QoL and BD. The final section of this chapter will make some recommendations about future QoL research in BD, highlighting the need for work at both the theoretical and measurement levels. At the theoretical level, the implications of the vulnerability model of health-related QoL (HRQOL) (e.g., Ritsner, Chapter of this collection) will be briefly reviewed. At the measurement level, we will present some data on the ongoing development of a patient-centred disorder-specific QoL measure for BD

Key words

Bipolar disorder Quality of life Functioning 


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Copyright information

© springer 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erin E. Michalak
    • 1
  • Greg Murray
    • 2
  • Allan H. Young
    • 1
  • Raymond W. Lam
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of BritishColumbiaCanada
  2. 2.Faculty of Life and Social SciencesSwinburne University of TechnologyHawthornAustralia

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