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Journal Article

Deficits in explicit emotion regulation in bipolar disorder: A systematic review


Kanske,  Philipp
Chair for Clinical Psychology and Behavioral Neuroscience, Faculty of Psychology, TU Dresden, Germany;
Department Neuropsychology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Kurtz, M., Mohring, P., Förster, K., Bauer, M., & Kanske, P. (2021). Deficits in explicit emotion regulation in bipolar disorder: A systematic review. International Journal of Bipolar Disorders, 9(1): 15. doi:10.1186/s40345-021-00221-9.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0008-B338-F
Background: This study aimed to compile and synthesize studies investigating explicit emotion regulation in patients with bipolar disorder and individuals at risk of developing bipolar disorder. The importance of explicit emotion regulation arises from its potential role as a marker for bipolar disorders in individuals at risk and its potent role in therapy for bipolar disorder patients. Methods: To obtain an exhaustive compilation of studies dealing specifically with explicit emotion regulation in bipolar disorder, we conducted a systematic literature search in four databases. In the 15 studies we included in our review, the emotion-regulation strategies maintenance, distraction, and reappraisal (self-focused and situation-focused) were investigated partly on a purely behavioral level and partly in conjunction with neural measures. The samples used in the identified studies included individuals at increased risk of bipolar disorder, patients with current affective episodes, and patients with euthymic mood state. Results: In summary, the reviewed studies' results indicate impairments in explicit emotion regulation in individuals at risk for bipolar disorder, patients with manic and depressive episodes, and euthymic patients. These deficits manifest in subjective behavioral measures as well as in neural aberrations. Further, our review reveals a discrepancy between behavioral and neural findings regarding explicit emotion regulation in individuals at risk for bipolar disorders and euthymic patients. While these groups often do not differ significantly in behavioral measures from healthy and low-risk individuals, neural differences are mainly found in frontostriatal networks. Conclusion: We conclude that these neural aberrations are a potentially sensitive measure of the probability of occurrence and recurrence of symptoms of bipolar disorders and that strengthening this frontostriatal route is a potentially protective measure for individuals at risk and patients who have bipolar disorders.