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JMIR Ment Health. 2019 Apr 15;6(4):e13493. doi: 10.2196/13493.

Supporting Self-Management in Bipolar Disorder: Mixed-Methods Knowledge Translation Study.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
Centre for Mental Health, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia.
Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
School of Social Work, University of British Columbia, Okanagan, BC, Canada.



Self-management is increasingly recognized as an important method through which individuals with bipolar disorder (BD) may cope with symptoms and improve quality of life. Digital health technologies have strong potential as a method to support the application of evidence-informed self-management strategies in BD. Little is known, however, about how to most effectively maximize user engagement with digital platforms.


The aims of this study were (1) to create an innovative Web-based Bipolar Wellness Centre, (2) to conduct a mixed-methods (ie, quantitative and qualitative) evaluation to assess the impact of different sorts of engagement (ie, knowledge translation [KT]), and (3) to support engagement with the self-management information in the Bipolar Wellness Centre.


The project was implemented in 2 phases. In phase 1, community-based participatory research and user-centered design methods were used to develop a website (Bipolar Wellness Centre) housing evidence-informed tools and strategies for self-management of BD. In phase 2, a mixed-methods evaluation was conducted to explore the potential impact of 4 KT strategies (Web-based webinars, Web-based videos, Web-based one-to-one Living Library peer support, and in-person workshops). Quantitative assessments occurred at 2 time points-preintervention and 3 weeks postintervention. Purposive sampling was used to recruit a subsample of participants for the qualitative interviews, ensuring each KT modality was represented, and interviews occurred approximately 3 weeks postintervention.


A total of 94 participants were included in the quantitative analysis. Responses to evaluative questions about engagement were broadly positive. When averaged across the 4 KT strategies, significant improvements were observed on the Bipolar Recovery Questionnaire (F1,77=5.887; P=.02) and Quality of Life in Bipolar Disorder (F1,77=8.212; P=.005). Nonsignificant improvements in positive affect and negative affect were also observed. The sole difference that emerged between KT strategies related to the Chronic Disease Self-Efficacy measure, which decreased after participation in the webinar and video arms but increased after the Living Library and workshop arms. A subsample of 43 participants was included in the qualitative analyses, with the majority of participants describing positive experiences with the 4 KT strategies; peer contact was emphasized as a benefit across all strategies. Infrequent negative experiences were reported in relation to the webinar and video strategies, and included technical difficulties, the academic tone of webinars, and feeling unable to relate to the actor in the videos.


This study adds incremental evidence to a growing literature that suggests digital health technologies can provide effective support for self-management for people with BD. The finding that KT strategies could differentially impact chronic disease self-efficacy (hypothesized as being a product of differences in degree of peer contact) warrants further exploration. Implications of the findings for the development of evidence-informed apps for BD are discussed in this paper.


bipolar disorder; community-based participatory research; eHealth; knowledge translation; mHealth; self-management

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