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Sense of hyper-positive self and response to cognitive therapy in bipolar disorder

  • DOMINIC LAM (a1), KIM WRIGHT (a1) and PAK SHAM (a1)

Introduction. Cognitive therapy (CT) for bipolar disorder emphasizes the monitoring and regulation of mood, thoughts and behaviour. The Sense of Hyper-Positive Self Scale (SHPSS) measures the extent to which bipolar patients value themselves and perceive themselves to possess personal attributes (e.g. dynamism, persuasiveness and productiveness) associated with a state of being ‘mildly high’, which does not reach the severity of clinical hypomania. It is hypothesized that patients who score highly on the SHPSS do not respond well to cognitive therapy.

Method. One hundred and three bipolar-I patients were randomized into CT and control groups. The SHPSS was administered at baseline and at a 6-month follow-up.

Result. The SHPSS had good test–retest reliability after 6 months. At baseline, the Goal-Attainment Dysfunctional Attitudes contributed significantly to the SHPSS scores after the mood measures were controlled for in a regression analysis. There was a significant interaction between baseline SHPSS scores and group allocation in predicting relapse during therapy. Patients who scored highly on the SHPSS had a significantly increased chance of relapse after controlling for mood scores, levels of social functioning at recruitment, and the previous number of bipolar episodes.

Conclusion. Not all patients benefited from CT. For patients with high SHPSS scores, CT was less efficacious. The results also indicate that future studies could evaluate targeting these attributes and dysfunctional beliefs with intensive cognitive behavioural techniques.

Corresponding author
Dominic Lam, Psychology Department, Henry Wellcome Building, Institute of Psychiatry, De Crespigny Park, London SE5 8AF, UK. (Email:
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Psychological Medicine
  • ISSN: 0033-2917
  • EISSN: 1469-8978
  • URL: /core/journals/psychological-medicine
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