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Background. This study aimed to explore the effects of emotionally salient material on thought disorder in patients with bipolar affective disorder.
Method. Seventy-one participants (20 manic, 15 depressed, 16 currently well patients and 20 non-psychiatric-controls) were interviewed in two conditions: an emotionally salient interview and a non-salient interview. Speech samples were rated using the Scale for the Assessment of Thought, Language and Communication.
Results. Manic patients presented with significantly more thought disorder than any other group in both conditions and exhibited the greatest reaction to emotionally salient material.
Conclusion. The effects of emotional salience on thought, language and communication are not unique to schizophrenic patients. The speech of manic patients is more affectively responsive than the speech of remitted, bipolar depressed and normal participants. The implications of these findings are discussed.