King's College London

Research portal

An interpretative phenomenological analysis of the experience of receiving a diagnosis of bi-polar disorder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)358-363
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Mental Health
Issue number3
Early online date24 Apr 2020
Accepted/In press3 Mar 2020
E-pub ahead of print24 Apr 2020
Published3 May 2020


King's Authors


Background: Research has shown that receiving a psychiatric diagnosis can have both positive and negative consequences for people. The way in which diagnoses are imparted is an under-researched area and may play an important role in reducing stigma and aiding recovery. Aims: The aim of the present study was to get an in-depth understanding of service users’ experience of receiving a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Methods: Nine service users recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder were interviewed using a semi-structured interview schedule designed to elicit information regarding the positive and negative aspects of receiving their diagnosis. All transcripts were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Findings: The findings can be described in terms of three master themes: 1. “Perceived fit between diagnosis and lived experience”, 2. “Evaluating the utility of carrying the diagnostic label” and 3. “The role of diagnosis in searching for solutions to one’s difficulties”. Conclusion: This study draws attention to the importance of evaluating the fit between diagnosis and personal experiences and to the relevance of perceived stigma. The findings also highlight the significance of the client–clinician relationship in establishing fit and instilling hope, which has implications for the acceptance of the diagnosis and engagement with services.

Download statistics

No data available

View graph of relations

© 2020 King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS | England | United Kingdom | Tel +44 (0)20 7836 5454