Exploring Positive Outcomes for Youth with Bipolar Spectrum Disorder

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McArthur, Brae Anne
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University of Guelph

Bipolar Spectrum Disorder (BSD) in a severe psychiatric disorder and relatively little is known about positive outcomes for youth with this diagnosis. The goal of this dissertation was to gain understanding of how parenting context relates to positive outcomes (e.g., reduced psychopathology, life satisfaction, resiliency, positive schemas) among youth with a diagnosis of BSD. Study 1 revealed that parental characteristics including limit setting, autonomy granting, and egalitarian views of parenting relate to lower levels of psychopathology for youth screened for a diagnosis of BSD at a tertiary care facility. In addition, the relation between parenting context and psychopathology did not significantly differ for youth with a diagnosis of BSD and youth with other mental heath difficulties. Study 2 extended these findings and found that parental support and limit setting longitudinally predicted positive outcomes for youth with BSD. Parental acceptance related to all measures of positive functioning (i.e., life satisfaction, resilience, positive schemas) and unexpectedly, so did psychological control, perhaps playing a unique role in this sample. Study 2 results suggest that positive schemas may be one mechanism linking parental acceptance to resiliency for youth with BSD. Finally, qualitative analysis revealed that parents and youth participants reported on many positive aspects of youth with BSD and that on a thematic level, youth responses cohered largely with parent responses. Overall, this dissertation has implications for informing a more complex view of parenting context and BSD and has implications for intervention efforts for these youth and their families.

Bipolar Spectrum Disorder, Resilience, Parenting, Life Satisfaction, Positive Schemas, Mediation