Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice

Skip to Search

Skip to Navigation

Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice - Early View Articles, Pages ${blockparams.parentJournalIssue.pageRange}

Decision‐making and risk in bipolar disorder: A quantitative study using fuzzy trace theory

Objectives This study characterizes risk‐taking behaviours in a group of people with a self‐reported diagnosis of BD using fuzzy trace theory (FTT). FTT hypothesizes that risk‐taking is a ‘reasoned’ (but sometimes faulty) action, rather than an impulsive act associated with mood fluctuations. Design We tested whether measures of FTT (verbatim and gist‐based thinking) were predictive of risk‐taking intentions in BD, after controlling for mood and impulsivity. We hypothesized that FTT scales would be significant predictors of risk‐taking intentions even after accounting for mood and impulsivity. Methods Fifty‐eight participants with BD (age range 21–78, 68% female) completed a series of online questionnaires assessing risk intentions, mood, impulsivity, and FTT. Results Fuzzy trace theory scales significantly predicted risk‐taking intentions (medium effect sizes), after controlling for mood and impulsivity consistent with FTT (part range .26 to .49). Participants with BD did not show any statistically significant tendency towards verbatim‐based thinking. Conclusions Fuzzy trace theory gist and verbatim representations were both independent predictors of risk‐taking intentions, even after controlling for mood and impulsivity. The results offer an innovative conceptualization of the mechanisms behind risk‐taking in BD. Practitioner points Risk‐taking behaviour in bipolar disorder is not just a consequence of impulsivity. Measures of fuzzy trace theory help to understand risk‐taking in bipolar disorder. FTT measures predict risk‐taking intentions, after controlling for mood and impulsivity.

Add This link

Bookmark and Share>