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Dysfunctional Cognitions among Offspring of Individuals with Bipolar Disorder

  • Camilo J. Ruggero (a1), Kathleen M. Bain (a1), Patrick M. Smith (a1) and Jared N. Kilmer (a1)


Background: Individuals with bipolar disorder often endorse dysfunctional beliefs consistent with cognitive models of bipolar disorder (Beck, 1976; Mansell, 2007). Aims: The present study sought to assess whether young adult offspring of those with bipolar disorder would also endorse these beliefs, independent of their own mood episode history. Method: Participants (N = 89) were young adult college students with a parent with bipolar disorder (n = 27), major depressive disorder (MDD; n = 30), or no mood disorder (n = 32). Semi-structured interviews of the offspring were used to assess diagnoses. Dysfunctional beliefs related to Beck and colleagues’ (2006) and Mansell's (2007) cognitive models were assessed. Results: Unlike offspring of parents with MDD or no mood disorder, those with a parent with bipolar disorder endorsed significantly more dysfunctional cognitions associated with extreme appraisal of mood states, even after controlling for their own mood diagnosis. Once affected by a bipolar or depressive disorder, offspring endorsed dysfunctional cognitions across measures. Conclusions: Dysfunctional cognitions, particularly those related to appraisals of mood states and their potential consequences, are evident in young adults with a parent who has bipolar disorder and may represent targets for psychotherapeutic intervention.


Corresponding author

Reprint requests to Camilo J. Ruggero, University of North Texas, 1155 Union Circle #311280, Denton, TX 76203, USA. E-mail:


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Dysfunctional Cognitions among Offspring of Individuals with Bipolar Disorder

  • Camilo J. Ruggero (a1), Kathleen M. Bain (a1), Patrick M. Smith (a1) and Jared N. Kilmer (a1)
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