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Thirty-Third Annual Meeting of the Society for Research in Psychopathology

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82. Characterizing the affective profile of bipolar spectrum psychopathology across multiple timescales and contexts

Affective dysregulation characterizes both clinical and subclinical bipolar spectrum psychopathology (BSP). However, little is known about whether affective dysregulation is present across multiple timescales and contexts. Our preliminary studies suggested that BSP is associated with altered emotion dynamics across seven days. Expanding on this work, we examined BSP’s association with emotion dynamics within and between days, across 14 days. Furthermore, we examined whether high BSP individuals have disrupted meta-emotion (emotional clarity, granularity, attention) and whether it interacts with BSP to predict emotion dynamics. Young-adults (n=233) oversampled for BSP completed self-report questionnaires and 14 days of experience sampling questionnaires assessing emotional valence and arousal. Computational approaches examined the time-series of each participant. BSP was associated with hyper-reactivity, variability, and instability of high-arousal negative and positive affect both within and between-days, indicating that micro-level dynamics are disrupted across multiple timescales. Results held after accounting for mean-levels of emotions, depression, and neuroticism. BSP was associated with low emotional clarity and granularity in daily life. The combination of low attention to emotion and high BSP produced the highest level of negative affect instability. Examining emotion dynamics in BSP should enhance understanding of risk for bipolar spectrum disorders and facilitate development of mood-monitoring interventions.

Sarah Sperry
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Haley Clark
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Elizabeth Spurlock
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Thomas Kwapil
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


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