Bipolar Disorder in Abnormal Psychology

Patients with bipolar disorder present one of the most interesting populations to be studied from the abnormal psychology perspective. In their article, Duffy et al. (2019) report the outcomes of a two-decade observational and correlational study that aimed to observe the development and psychological maturation of bipolar patients’ children. The researchers were interested in keeping track of the links between parental bipolar disorder, parents’ responses to lithium therapy, and children’s risks of developing the disorder, including the age of onset (Duffy et al., 2019). Apart from the heredity-related patterns, the study sheds light on children’s behavioral characteristics and issues that might be regarded as the disorder’s premonitory signs.

As for the methodology, the study employs several methods to document and analyze the findings. From the perspective of observational interventions’ duration, the work by Duffy et al. (2019) can be classified as a longitudinal study in which the same participants are observed over a long period of time. As per Comer and Comer (2017), longitudinal studies are among the alternative approaches to research. In longitudinal research, the independent variables are not manipulated directly, which explains their quasi-experimental nature (Comer & Comer, 2017). The source also exemplifies correlational research by describing relationships between several variables (Comer & Comer, 2017). At the same time, it does not attempt to explain and classify such relationships by establishing causative links.

Regarding normal and abnormal behavior, the article suggests that bipolar disorder in those at familial risk develops relatively typically and progressively and often starts from abnormal behaviors while sleeping or excessive anxiety. The results of the study indicate that the cumulative incidence of the disorder in bipolar patients’ children exceeds 24% (Duffy et al., 2019). The age of onset ranges from 12 to 30 years, with 20.7 years as the median onset age (Duffy et al., 2019). Parents’ adequate response to lithium treatment is positively correlated with the predominance of depressive episodes in children during the early stage of disease (Duffy et al., 2019). Deviations from the norm that might predict the disorder’s development include elevated anxiety, excessive aggression, irritability, and sleep abnormalities, such as sleep apnea, sleepwalking, or disruptive behaviors (Duffy et al., 2019). Thus, the source sheds light on the early predictors of bipolar disorder.

Responses to Classmates

Response 1: William

Hi William, your post is really insightful and explains a lot about quantitative questionnaires’ potential in exploring differences between normal and abnormal emotional regulation patterns. In chapter four, the correlational method’s external validity and replicability are cited as prominent contributors to knowledge sophistication (Comer & Comer, 2017). The study that you have selected demonstrates this very well.

Response 2: Sarah

Hi Sarah, I really like how you evaluated the correlational study and distinguished between correlation and causality. In the fourth chapter, Comer and Comer (2017) highlight that the dangers of misinterpreting correlations as cause-effect relationships do not undermine such links’ clinical helpfulness. However, such misinterpretations are common in everyday life and might seem intuitively right.

Response 3: Miranda

Hi Miranda, the description of the recruitment process in the chosen study was very interesting to read. You mentioned the compensation part and clear descriptions of the project. Both measures support research participants’ right to access relevant information and respect for participants’ time emphasized in chapter two of the book (Comer & Comer, 2017).

Response 4: Timothy

Hi Timothy, I like the discussion of diverse and somewhat entangled relationships between aggression and antisocial personality disorder. In chapter two, Comer and Comer (2017) mention situational variables as a barrier to accurate and replicable findings. In studies targeting adolescents, it might be interesting to keep track of measures to exclude the influence of extraneous variables (mood or anxiety when being interviewed) on participants’ aggression results.


Comer, R. J., & Comer, J. S. (2017). Abnormal psychology (10th ed.). Worth Publishers.

Duffy, A., Goodday, S., Keown-Stoneman, C., & Grof, P. (2019). The emergent course of bipolar disorder: Observations over two decades from the Canadian high-risk offspring cohort. American Journal of Psychiatry, 176(9), 720-729. Web.

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PsychologyWriting. (2022) 'Bipolar Disorder in Abnormal Psychology'. 7 September.


PsychologyWriting. 2022. "Bipolar Disorder in Abnormal Psychology." September 7, 2022.

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PsychologyWriting. "Bipolar Disorder in Abnormal Psychology." September 7, 2022.