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Braz J Psychiatr. 2017 Apr-Jun;39(2):147-153. doi: 10.1590/1516-4446-2016-2005. Epub 2017 Mar 9.

An evolutionary approach to mania studying Sardinian immigrants to Argentina.

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Dipartimento di Scienze Mediche e Sanitè Pubblica, Universitè degli studi di Cagliari, Cagliari, Italy.
Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA.
Facultad de Humanidades, Universidad del Museo Social Argentino, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Instituto de Psiquiatria (IPUB), Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil.
Centro Lucio Bini Cagliari and Centro Lucio Bini Roma, Italy.
Harvard Medical School, McLean Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.



To ascertain lifetime prevalence of positivity to a screening questionnaire for bipolar disorders (BD) in Sardinian immigrants to Argentina and residents of Sardinia and assess whether such positivity affects quality of life (QoL) in either group. Our hypothesis is that screen positivity for BD may be more frequent in immigrants.


Observational study. Subjects were randomly selected from the membership lists of associations of Sardinian immigrants in Argentina. A study carried out in Sardinia using the same methodology was used for comparison. The Mood Disorder Questionnaire was used to screen for mania/hypomania and the Short-Form Health Survey-12 to measure QoL.


A higher prevalence of manic/hypomanic episodes was found in Sardinian immigrants to Argentina (p < 0.0001; odds ratio = 3.0, 95% confidence interval 1.87-4.77). Positivity at screening was associated with a lower QoL both in Sardinian immigrants to Argentina and in residents of Sardinia.


To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to show a higher lifetime prevalence of manic/hypomanic episodes in a general-population sample of individuals who migrated to a foreign country. Our results are in agreement with the hypothesis that hyperactive/novelty-seeking features may represent an adaptive substrate in certain conditions of social change.

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