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Psychology & Neuroscience

On-line version ISSN 1983-3288

Abstract

DARUY-FILHO, Ledo et al. Childhood maltreatment and coping in bipolar disorder . Psychol. Neurosci. [online]. 2013, vol.6, n.3, pp.271-277. ISSN 1983-3288.  https://doi.org/10.3922/j.psns.2013.3.05.

A personal history of childhood maltreatment has been associated with unfavorable outcomes in bipolar disorder (BD). The impact of early life stressors on the course of BD may be influenced by individual differences in coping skills. The coping construct relies on neurocognitive mechanisms that are usually influenced by childhood maltreatment. The objective of the present study was to verify the association between childhood maltreatment and coping skills in individuals with BD Type 1. Thirty female euthymic outpatients with BD Type 1 were evaluated using the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire and two additional instruments to measure their coping preferences: Ways of Coping Questionnaire (coping strategies) and Brief COPE (coping styles). Reports of physical abuse (B = .64, p < .01) and emotional abuse (B = .44, p = .01) were associated with the use of maladaptive strategies that focused on emotional control. Adaptive strategies and styles of coping, such as focusing on the problem, were chosen less frequently by women who had experienced emotional neglect (B = .53, p < .01) and physical abuse (B = -.48, p < .01) in childhood. The small sample size in the present study prevented subgroup analyses. The sample did not include male BD participants. Our results indicate that early traumatic events may have a long-lasting deleterious influence on coping abilities in female BD patients. Future prospective studies may investigate whether the negative impact of childhood maltreatment over the course of BD is mediated by individual differences in coping abilities.

Keywords : coping; child abuse; childhood trauma; bipolar disorder.

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