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Compr Psychiatry. 2010 Jul-Aug;51(4):380-5. doi: 10.1016/j.comppsych.2009.10.004. Epub 2009 Dec 21.

The role of gender in single vs married individuals with bipolar disorder.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Washington, DC 20037, USA. dlieberman@mfa.gwu.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Despite the importance of marriage as a source of social support, it has been largely neglected in studies of bipolar disorder; and differential effects on men and women have not been explored.

METHODS:

Data on episodes of depression, mania, and mixed states were collected for the previous 2 years from a sample of 282 bipolar individuals using the National Institute of Mental Health Life Chart Methodology.

RESULTS:

Effects unique to women included the following: Bipolar women were significantly more likely to be married. Married women had fewer episodes of depression during the past 2 years than never-married women, and the cumulative severity of depression was lower. There were no differences in diagnostic subtype or age of onset between married and never-married women. Among men, never-married men were more likely to have bipolar I disorder and had an earlier age of onset compared with married men. There were no differences between married and never-married men in frequency, duration, or severity of mood episodes.

CONCLUSIONS:

Partner selection processes as they relate to bipolar disorder may be different for men and women. The bipolar I diagnostic subtype and early age of onset were associated with a lower likelihood of being married for men, but not for women. Marriage was associated with less depression in women during a 2-year period; but marital status was not associated with disease course differences in men, suggesting that women may be more sensitive to the positive effects of social support available within a stable marital relationship.

PMID:
20579511
DOI:
10.1016/j.comppsych.2009.10.004
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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