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J Ment Health. 2019 Apr 8:1-9. doi: 10.1080/09638237.2019.1581350. [Epub ahead of print]

Financial difficulties in bipolar disorder part 2: psychological correlates and a proposed psychological model.

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a Mental Health Recovery Teams, Solent NHS Trust, St. Mary's Community Health Campus , Portsmouth , UK.
b Personal Finance Research Centre, School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol , University Road , Bristol , UK.



A number of psychological variables have been shown to be prominent in bipolar disorder. However, no research has looked at the relationship between financial difficulties and psychological factors in bipolar disorder.


This study aims to look at the relationship between financial difficulties and psychological factors in bipolar disorder.


Fifty-four participants with diagnosis of bipolar disorder in an adult secondary care NHS mental health service completed the questionnaire pack which included measures examining financial variables including difficulty paying bills and perceived financial wellbeing. Questionnaires measured self-esteem, impulsivity, mindfulness and dysfunctional attitudes.


Financial difficulties cross-sectionally were related to a number of psychological variables such as mindfulness and impulsivity. Over time, the strongest effects were for compulsive spending which was increased over time by higher dependency and achievement cognitions, lower mindfulness and lower self-esteem. Poor perceived financial wellness lower self-esteem over time. A psychological model incorporating these and related findings is presented.


Psychological factors appear to be related to financial difficulties in bipolar disorder. Future research is needed to confirm the model presented here and develop interventions.


Bipolar disorder; compulsive buying; debt; finances; impulsive spending.

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