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Dalkner, N; Wagner-Skacel, J; Ratzenhofer, M; Fellendorf, F; Lenger, M; Maget, A; Tmava-Berisha, A; Pilz, R; Queissner, R; Hamm, C; Bengesser, S; Platzer, M; Birner, A; Reininghaus, E.
Psychological symptoms during and after Austrian first lockdown in individuals with bipolar disorder? A follow-up control-group investigation.
Int J Bipolar Disord. 2021; 9(1):16 Doi: 10.1186/s40345-021-00222-8 [OPEN ACCESS]
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Führende Autor*innen der Med Uni Graz
Dalkner Nina
Wagner-Skacel Jolana
Co-Autor*innen der Med Uni Graz
Bengesser Susanne
Birner Armin
Fellendorf Frederike
Hamm Carlo
Lenger Melanie
Maget Alexander
Pilz Rene
Platzer Martina
Queissner Robert
Ratzenhofer Michaela
Reininghaus Eva
Tmava-Berisha Adelina

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BACKGROUND: The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, a global health crisis, has resulted in widespread socioeconomic restrictions including lockdown, social distancing, and self-isolation. To date, little is known about the psychological impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown on patients with bipolar disorder as a particularly vulnerable group. METHODS: An online survey was conducted in Austria at two points of measurement (T1 April 2020 during the first lockdown vs. T2 May 2020 at post-lockdown). The sample comprises 20 patients with bipolar disorder (mean age = 49.4 ± 15.6 years) and 20 healthy controls (mean age = 32.7 ± 9.6 years). A 2 × 2 factorial design to compare two time points (T1 vs. T2) and two groups (patients vs. healthy controls) was used. Main outcome measures included the Brief Symptom Inventory-18 (BSI-18) and a (non-validated and non-standardized) assessment to determine COVID-19 fears and emotional distress due to social distancing. Multiple linear regression analyses were used to assess the longitudinal association of COVID-19 fears/emotional distress due to social distancing during lockdown (T1) and psychological symptoms after lockdown (T2). RESULTS: At T1, results demonstrated higher scores in BSI-18 subscales depression, anxiety and global severity index as well as emotional distress due to social distancing in bipolar patients compared to controls. There was a significant time x group interaction in the BSI-18 subscale somatization showing a decreasing trend in patients with BD compared to controls. No time effects in BSI-18 subscales or COVID-19 fears/emotional distress due to social distancing were observed. Regression analyses showed that COVID-19 fears during lockdown predicted somatization, only in patients. CONCLUSIONS: There was a connection between the lockdown measures and somatization symptoms observed in patients. When the first steps of easing the social restrictions in May 2020 took place, somatization decreased only in the bipolar compared to the control group. Higher COVID-19 fears during lockdown predicted later symptoms at post-lockdown. Long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic need further investigations to improve current therapeutic approaches and prevent fears and distress during lockdown in individuals with bipolar disorder in times of crisis.

Find related publications in this database (Keywords)
Bipolar disorder
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