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Tietz, S; Wagner-Skacel, J; Angel, HF; Ratzenhofer, M; Fellendorf, FT; Fleischmann, E; Koerner, C; Reininghaus, EZ; Seitz, RJ; Dalkner, N.
Believing processes during the COVID-19 pandemic in individuals with bipolar disorder: An exploratory study
WORLD J PSYCHIATR. 2022; 12(7): 929-943. Doi: 10.5498/wjp.v12.i7.929 [OPEN ACCESS]
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Führende Autor*innen der Med Uni Graz
Dalkner Nina
Co-Autor*innen der Med Uni Graz
Fellendorf Frederike
Fleischmann Eva
Ratzenhofer Michaela
Reininghaus Eva
Wagner-Skacel Jolana

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BACKGROUND: Believing or "credition" refers to psychological processes that integrate the cognitions and emotions that influence our behavior. In the credition model by Angel and Seitz, four parameters are postulated: proposition, certainty, emotion and mightiness. It is assumed that believing processes are influenced by both the individual as well as socio-cultural factors and external circumstances. External or environmental circumstances can include threatening situations such as the ongoing pandemic. It has been hypothesized that believing processes related to the pandemic differ between individuals with bipolar disorder (BD) and healthy controls (HC). AIM: To investigate credition in individuals with BD during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. METHODS: Psychiatrically stable individuals with BD (n = 52) and age- and sex matched HC (n = 52) participated in an online survey during the first lockdown of the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey took place between April 9th and June 4th, 2020, in Austria. Participants completed the Brief Symptom Inventory-18, the Beck Depression Inventory-II, the Altman Self-Rating Mania Scale, the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index and a dedicated Believing Questionnaire assessing four parameters of credition (proposition, certainty, emotion and mightiness). The MAXQDA software was used to analyze the qualitative data. Statistical analyses included analyses of variance, a multivariate analysis of variance and a multivariate analysis of co-variance. RESULTS: Individuals with BD reported significantly more negative propositions [F (1,102) = 8.89, P = 0.004, η2 p = 0.08] and negative emotions [Welch´s F (1,82.46) = 18.23, P < 0.001, η2 p = 0.18], while HC showed significantly more positive propositions [F (1,102) = 7.78, P = 0.006, η2 p = 0.07] and emotions [F (1,102) = 14.31, P < 0.001, η2 p = 0.12]. In addition, individuals with BD showed a higher incongruence between their propositions and their emotions [F (1,102) = 9.42, P = 0.003, η2 p = 0.08] and showed strong correlations between the parameters of the Believing Questionnaire and their psychiatric symptoms (r = 0.51-0.77, all P < 0.001). Positive as well as negative emotions and propositions were associated with scores measuring symptoms of depression, anxiety and sleep quality. CONCLUSION: Believing parameters were associated with psychiatric symptoms in BD during the pandemic. Findings broaden knowledge about the susceptibility of believing processes for ambient challenges in individuals with BD.

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