Bipolar disorder patients have similar levels of education but lower socio-economic status than the general population

ArticleinJournal of Affective Disorders 129(1-3):68-74 · March 2011with18 Reads
Impact Factor: 3.38 · DOI: 10.1016/j.jad.2010.08.012 · Source: PubMed


    There is conflicting evidence regarding the educational level and its importance for social and occupational functioning in bipolar disorder (BD). The aim of this study was to investigate how educational achievement relates to function in BD compared with the general population, and which clinical factors are associated with level of education.
    Hospitalized patients with DSM-IV BD (N=257; 69.3% BD I; 25.7% BD II; 5.1 BD NOS; 51.4% females) were consecutively recruited from mental health clinics throughout Norway and compared with a geographically matched reference sample from the general population (N=56,540) on levels of education, marital status, income, and disability benefits. Further analyses of association were carried out using logistic regression analyses.
    A significantly higher proportion of subjects in the BD group than in the reference group was single, had low income, or was disabled. No between-group difference was found in educational level. In the reference group education was inversely correlated with the risk of being disabled, but no such relationship was found in the BD group. Rapid cycling and recurring depressive episodes were the only clinical characteristics associated with low educational level.
    Acutely admitted patients might not be representative for milder forms of disease.
    Despite similar levels of education, BD patients had lower social and occupational function than the general population, and no association was found between education and disability for BD patients.