Category: Bipolar Disorders

PS3- #B57 - Correlation Between NEO-FFI Measures of Personality and Behavioral Motivation in Bipolar Disorder

Friday, Nov 17
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Location: Indigo Ballroom CDGH, Level 2, Indigo Level

Keywords: Bipolar Disorder | Motivation | Adult Anxiety

Bipolar disorder (BD) is a debilitating condition marked by episodes of (hypo)mania and depression. Anxiety disorders are highly comorbid in BD, associated with greater impairment. It has been suggested that neuroticism may be a common transdiagnostic trait underlying mood and anxiety disorders, associated with a greater tendency to experience negative affect and greater behavioral avoidance relative to behavioral approach. However, the relationship between neuroticism and approach/avoidance in BD is less understood. BD is characterized by increased negative affect and transient increases in both behavioral approach and behavioral avoidance. This relationship is further complicated by the presence of comorbid anxiety. In the current study, we explored the relationship between neuroticism and behavioral approach/avoidance in a sample of BD patients with comorbid anxiety disorders.


 Data were collected as part of a pilot study of the Unified Protocol (UP) for transdiagnostic treatment of BD and anxiety (N=29). Neuroticism and the orthogonal construct of Extraversion were assessed using the NEO Five Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI; Costa & McRae, 1992). Behavioral approach and avoidance was assessed using the Behavioral Inhibition/Behavioral Approach Scale (BIS/BAS, Carver & White, 1994). Contrary to expectations, no significant correlation was found between Neuroticism and the BIS. By contrast, Neuroticism was positively correlated with the Drive, Fun-Seeking, and Reward Responsiveness subscales of the BAS (r=.18, p=.03; r=.30, pr=.230, p=.004, respectively). Extraversion was also strongly positively correlated with Drive, Fun-Seeking, and Reward Responsiveness (r=.401, pr=.321, pr=.402, pr=-.17, p=.04, Extraversion: r=-.33, pr=-.33, p < .001). Further, both Neuroticism and Extraversion were negatively associated with depression symptoms (Hamilton Depression Rating Scale; Neuroticism: r=-.17, p=.04, Extraversion: r=-.33, pr=-.33, p < .001). Extraversion, but not Neuroticism, was also negatively associated with anxiety symptoms (Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale; r=-.33, p < .001). These results suggest a unique relationship between BD and anxiety and the construct of Neuroticism, meriting further research.

Jessica A. Janos

Clinical Research Coordinator
Massachusetts General Hospital
Brookline, Massachusetts

Kristen K. Ellard

Clinical Fellow in Psychology
Massachusetts General Hospital
Charlestown, Massachusetts

Emily E. Bernstein

Graduate Student
Harvard University
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Samantha L. Walsh

Massachusetts General Hospital

Louisa G. Sylvia

Assistant Professor
Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School
Boston, Massachusetts

Andrew A. Nierenberg

Professor of Psychiatry
Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School

Thilo Deckersbach

Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School