Quality of Life in stabilized outpatients with Bipolar I Disorder: Associations with Resilience, Internalized Stigma, and Residual Symptoms

Fabienne Wartelsteiner, Silvia Pardeller, Beatrice Frajo-Apor, Georg Kemmler, Catherine Sondermann, Armand Hausmann, W. Wolfgang Fleischhacker, Yuya Mizuno, Hiroyuki Uchida, Alex Hofer

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30 Citations (Scopus)


Improving Quality of Life (QoL) is an important objective in the treatment of bipolar disorder. The aim of the current study was to examine to which extent resilience, internalized stigma, and psychopathology are correlated to QoL.

We recruited 60 outpatients diagnosed with bipolar I disorder according to DSM-IV criteria and 77 healthy control subjects from the general community. In patients, symptoms were quantified by the Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) and the Young Mania Rating Scale (YMRS) and internalized stigma by the Internalized Stigma of Mental Illness (ISMI) scale. In order to assess QoL and resilience, the Berliner Lebensqualitätsprofil (BELP) and the Resilience Scale (RS-25) were used in both patients and control subjects.

Despite presenting with a very mild symptom level and relatively low internalized stigma, patients with bipolar I disorder indicated significantly lower QoL and resilience as compared to healthy control subjects. In patients, QoL correlated significantly with resilience, internalized stigma, and residual symptoms of depression. No significant correlations were observed between QoL and residual manic symptoms.

The cross-sectional design and the relatively small sample size limit the generalizability of our results. Furthermore, levels of resilience and internalized stigma may change over the course of the illness and have different impacts on the long-term outcome of patients with bipolar disorder.

Our results show that QoL of patients suffering from bipolar I disorder, even when in symptomatic remission, is strongly associated with the degree of resilience and internalized stigma, and that particularly residual depressive symptoms have a negative impact on QoL. In addition to drug treatment, psychotherapeutic approaches should be applied to strengthen resilience, to reduce internalized stigma, and, ultimately, to improve quality of life.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Early online date29 May 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 May 2018


  • Bipolar disorder
  • Quality of life
  • Resilience
  • Internalized stigma


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