Description: Bipolar disorder is a serious mental disorder, affecting anywhere from 2 to 4 percent of Americans. Though research has indicated that this disorder can be devastating for patients, less is known about how the disorder impacts family members. There is no research that has considered impacts on family members adjusting to college. The purpose of the current study was to determine the extent to which having a family member with bipolar disorder impacts adjustment to college, as well as factors that might account for worse functioning. Two groups were recruited: students with a bipolar family member (n = 25) and students with no family history of the disorder (n = 50). Participants were interviewed regarding their own histories of a mood disorder, as well as mood disorder histories in their immediate families. They then completed surveys assessing adjustment to college, functioning, caregiving burden, parental relationship, and attachment style. Students with a family history of bipolar disorder had significantly lower social adjustment scores, lower personal-emotional adjustment scores, and lower financial functioning scores than students without this history. Lower scores were found even after controlling for psychopathology. Avoidant attachment behaviors, anxious attachment behaviors, and aspects of the paternal relationship were identified as potential mediators. Caregiving burden was identified as a partial mediator. Implications for families and educational institutions are discussed.
Date: August 2011
Creator: Crandall, Erin
Item Type: Thesis or Dissertation
Partner: UNT Libraries