J Affect Disord 2015 Mar 22;173:39-44. Epub 2014 Oct 22.
Department of Psychiatry, Ruhr-University Bochum, LWL University Hospital, Bochum, Germany.
Background: Prodromal symptoms prior to first episode mania/hypomania have been reported. However, the relationship between temperament and manic/hypomanic prodromal symptoms has not been investigated. We hypothesized that subjects scoring higher on cyclothymic and irritable temperament scales show more manic/hypomanic prodromal symptoms.
Method: Euthymic patients diagnosed with bipolar-I or -II disorder within 8 years underwent retrospective assessments with the Temperament Evaluation of Memphis, Pisa, Paris and San Diego-autoquestionnaire (TEMPS-A) and the Bipolar Prodrome Symptom Scale-Retrospective (BPSS-R).
Results: Among 39 subjects (36.1 ± 9.9 years, females = 59%, bipolar-I = 62%) 100% and 92.3% reported subthreshold mania (mean = 7.4 ± 2.9) or subthreshold depressive symptoms (mean = 2.4 ± 1.5), and 87.2% and 43.6% reported general psychopathology (mean = 3.2 ± 2.0) or subthreshold psychotic symptoms (mean = 0.7 ± 1.0) prior to their first hypo-/manic episode. Subjects with higher cyclothymic and irritable temperament scores showed more subthreshold symptoms prior to the first manic/hypomanic episode, mainly subthreshold hypo-/manic symptoms (cyclothymic temperament r = 0.430; p = 0.006; irritable temperament r = 0.330; p = 0.040), general psychopathology symptoms (cyclothymic temperament r = 0.316; p = 0.05; irritable temperament r = 0.349; p = 0.029) and subthreshold psychotic symptoms (cyclothymic temperament r = 0.413; p = 0.009). In regression analyses, cyclothymic temperament explained 16.1% and 12.5% of the variance of the BPSS-R total score (p = 0.045) and psychosis subscore (p = 0.029).
Limitations: Retrospective study, no control group, small sample size.
Conclusion: We present data, which indicate a relationship between cyclothymic and irritable temperament and prodromal symptoms prior to the first manic/hypomanic episode. These findings support the notion that assessing cyclothymic temperament to identify people at-risk of developing bipolar-I and -II disorder may help to increase the predictive validity of applied at-risk criteria.