Background: Bipolar patients have impaired social functioning compared to people in the general population. It has been suggested that children of bipolar patients also have impaired social functioning. The objective of this study was to compare social functioning of adolescent and young adult offspring of bipolar parents with social functioning of adolescents and young adults in the general population. Method: Subjects were 140 offspring of bipolar parents and 1122 adolescents and 1175 young adults from the general population. Parent, teacher and self-report ratings were used to assess social functioning. Results: Analyses revealed no differences in scores on social functioning for offspring aged 11 to 18 years, and few differences for ages 18 to 26 years compared to same aged individuals from the general population. Offspring with a DSM-IV disorder showed a lower level of social functioning compared to Dutch subjects from the general population in the same age range. Limitations: The limitations of this study are lack of information on the representativeness of the sample and use of one measure for social functioning. Conclusions: Bipolar offspring in the adolescent age range have good overall level of social functioning. Social functioning in offspring aged 18 years or older with a bipolar or other mood disorder is impaired.

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Journal of Affective Disorders
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Reichart, C., van der Ende, J., Wals, M., Hillegers, M., Nolen, W., Ormel, J. H., & Verhulst, F. (2007). Social functioning of bipolar offspring. Journal of Affective Disorders, 98(3), 207–213. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2006.07.018