High HPS scores were associated with elevated intensity
of positive and negative affect. Consistent with the notion that
mood dysregulation is a core feature of the bipolar spectrum,
high HPS scorers exhibited greater variability in affect in daily
life. HPS scores were positively associated with conﬁdence,
feeling superior, and being the center of attention — capturing
the grandiose aspect of the bipolar spectrum. As expected, the
HPS was associated with increased difﬁculty concentrating and
ﬂight of ideas. Engagement in risky behavior was associated
with high HPS scores, but hypersociability was not. It may be
that the social environmen t of college students limited
detection of wide variability in social contact.
HPS scores moderated reactivity to success/failure in daily
life. Given that hypomania and mania are characterized by
exaggerated self-assessment, it was hypothesized that sub-
jective appraisals of s uccess/failureinreallifewould
constitute a potent cue for eliciting affective and cognitive
characteristics associated with the bipolar spectrum. Indeed,
as Henry et al. (2008) proposed, the assessment of affective
reactivity is an important and overlooked component in the
study of mood disorders and dysregulation that is as relevant
as the tone and intensity of affect. As expected, high HPS
scorers experienced more irritability and risky behaviors
when unsuccessful. However, they did not experience more
racing thoughts or energetic-enthusiasm than others when
feeling successful. It may be that high HPS scorers do not
show cognitive and motivational reactivity to success because
the appraisal of success is congruent with their internal
representation of the self. However, consistent with current
cognitive theories of the bipolar spectrum (Colom et al., 2001;
Newman et al., 2002), when confronted with failure, the lack
of congruence with their internal s elf might activate
irritability and acting-out behaviors. On the other hand, the
two “non-reactive” features, high energy and ﬂight of ideas,
were elevated in high HPS scorers, but relatively stable across
the day. High energy and a cognitive style deﬁned by
disrupted and divergent thinking are closer to trait-like
features of the bipolar spectrum, which would not be so
highly variable or reactive to environmental cues. In contrast,
negative affect and acting-out behavior would be more
susceptible to reactivity.
The results of this study must be interpreted in light of two
limitations. First, ESM data collection occurred as much as
12 weeks after the administration of the HPS. However, the
HPS was designed to measure stable characteristics and has
good test–retest reliability across this time frame (Eckblad
and Chapman, 1986). Secondly, p articipants were not
assessed for bipolar disorders (although the focus was not
speciﬁcally on disorders). Nevertheless, the ﬁndings are
consistent with a broader spectrum of bipolar characteristics
that is identiﬁable in nonclinical samples and provide further
support for the HPS as a measure of this construct. Note that
we are currently examining the expression of Akiskal's (e.g.,
Akiskal and Akiskal, 2005) affective temperaments, as these
appear central to understanding the bipolar spectrum.
Examining a broader spectrum of bipolar psychopathology
should enhance our und erstanding of the etiology and
development of bipolar disorders, facilitate identiﬁcation of
vulnerable individuals, and promote early interventions
(Angst and Cassano, 2005; Barrantes-Vidal et al., 2002).
Greater attention to subclinical bipolar symptoms in clinical
practice should increase the likelihood that patients receive
appropriate diagnoses and treatment.
Role of funding source
Neus Barrantes-Vidal and Thomas R. Kwapil are supported by the
Generalitat de Catalunya (2009SGR672). The Generalitat de Catalunya had
no further role in study design; in the collection, analysis and interpretation
of data; in the writing of the report; and in the decision to submit the paper
Conﬂict of interest
None of the authors had any conﬂicts of interest.
The authors thank Jason Mesner and Amethyst Royal for
their assistance with data collection.
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