BACKGROUND: Several studies have demonstrated that bipolar II (BD-II) disorder represents a quite common, distinct form of major mood disorders that should be separated from bipolar I (BD-I) disorder. The aims of this cross-sectional study were to assess temperament and clinical differences between patients with BD-I and BD-II disorders and to assess whether temperament traits are good predictors of hopelessness in patients with bipolar disorder, a variable highly associated with suicidal behavior and ideation. METHOD: Participants were 216 consecutive inpatients (97 men and 119 women) with a Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR), BD who were admitted to the Sant'Andrea Hospital's psychiatric ward in Rome (Italy). Patients completed the Temperament Evaluation of Memphis, Pisa, Paris, and San Diego--Autoquestionnaire, the Beck Hopelessness Scale (BHS), the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI), and the Gotland Scale of Male Depression. RESULTS: Patients with BD-II had higher scores on the BHS (9.78 ± 5.37 vs 6.87 ± 4.69; t(143.59) = -3.94; P < .001) than patients with BD-I. Hopelessness was associated with the individual pattern of temperament traits (ie, the relative balance of hyperthymic vs cyclothymic-irritable-anxious-dysthmic). Furthermore, patients with higher hopelessness (compared with those with lower levels of hopelessness) reported more frequently moderate to severe depression (87.1% vs 38.9%; P < .001) and higher MINI suicidal risk. CONCLUSION: Temperaments are important predictors both of suicide risk and psychopathology and may be used in clinical practice for better delivery of appropriate care to patients with bipolar disorders.
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