Risk for Mania and Positive Emotional Responding: Too Much of a Good Thing?

Department of Psychology, 2205 Tolman Hall #1650, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720-1650, USA.
Emotion (Impact Factor: 3.88). 03/2008; 8(1):23-33. DOI: 10.1037/1528-3542.8.1.23
Source: PubMed


Although positive emotion research has begun to flourish, the extremes of positive emotion remain understudied. The present research used a multimethod approach to examine positive emotional disturbance by comparing participants at high and low risk for episodes of mania, which involves elevations in positive emotionality. Ninety participants were recruited into a high or low mania risk group according to responses on the Hypomanic Personality Scale. Participants' subjective, expressive, and physiological emotional responses were gathered while they watched two positive, two negative, and one neutral film clip. Results suggested that participants at high risk for mania reported elevated positive emotion and irritability and also exhibited elevated cardiac vagal tone across positive, negative, and neutral films. Discussion focuses on the implications these findings have for the diagnosis and prevention of bipolar disorder, as well as for the general study of positive emotion.

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    • "Despite the potential relevance of HRV-HF to BD, little research has examined HRV functioning in BD. In one study, higher mean HRV-HF was associated with risk for BD as indexed by high scores on a scale measure of hypomanic tendencies (Gruber et al., 2008; though also see Henry et al., 2010). On the other hand, individuals at risk for BD, and diagnosed with BD, exhibit greater HRV-HF in the context of emotional film viewing (Gruber et al., 2008, 2011a, 2011b, 2011c). "
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    ABSTRACT: One promising avenue toward a better understanding of the pathophysiology of positive emotional disturbances is to examine high-frequency heart rate variability (HRV-HF), which has been implicated as a potential physiological index of disturbances in positive emotional functioning. To date, only a few psychopathology relevant studies have systematically quantified HRV-HF profiles using more ecologically valid methods in everyday life. Using an experience-sampling approach, the present study examined both mean levels and intra-individual variability of HRV-HF - as well as comparison measures of cardiovascular arousal, sympathetic activity, and gross somatic movement - in everyday life, using ambulatory psychophysiological measurement across a six-day consecutive period among a spectrum of community adult participants with varying degrees of positive valence system disturbance, including adults with bipolar I disorder (BD; n=21), major depressive disorder (MDD; n=17), and healthy non-psychiatric controls (CTL; n=28). Groups did not differ in mean HRV-HF, but greater HRV-HF instability (i.e., intra-individual variation in HRV-HF) was found in the BD compared to both MDD and CTL groups. Subsequent analyses suggested that group differences in HRV-HF variability were largely accounted for by variations in clinician-rated manic symptoms. However, no association was found between HRV-HF variability and dimensional measures of positive affectivity. This work provides evidence consistent with a quadratic relationship between HRV-HF and positive emotional disturbance and represents a valuable step toward developing a more ecologically valid model of positive valence system disturbances and their underlying psychophysiological mechanisms within an RDoC framework. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier B.V.
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    • "Future studies in other diagnostic groups are now required. One study has, for example, shown that in the case of mania RSA could be elevated rather than depressed (Gruber, Oveis, Keltner, & Johnson, 2008) and HRV responses of manic patients during a social interaction task remain unclear. Findings from this meta-analysis reveal that women and men show similar HRV responses during social interactions, as moderated by valence. "
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    ABSTRACT: Social interaction skill is important for psychological wellbeing, stress regulation, protection from disability and overall life satisfaction. Increases in the activity of the vagus nerve, measured by heart rate variability (HRV), are associated with social interaction skill and decreases with states of stress. In this meta-analysis we collated statistics from thirteen studies consisting of 787 participants who were participating in social interactions while HRV was simultaneously collected. Results revealed that while dyadic social interactions do not increase HRV generally from a baseline state, negative dyadic social interactions decrease HRV in a manner that is similar to the Trier Social Stress Task. Further, participants with psychopathology do not show cardiac autonomic flexibility during social interactions as indicated by reductions under stress and increases with subsequently with positive social interactions. The role of age, gender and HRV index were also examined as potential moderators of HRV. Implications for health and wellbeing resulting from exposure to negative social interactions are discussed.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2015 · Biological Psychology
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    • "Although at first sight, the decrease in HR prompted by sadness stimuli may seem surprising, there is evidence that sadness is an emotion that implies acceptance of the situation and is thus commonly related to decreased cardial activation (e.g. Theall-Honey and Schmidt, 2006; Kreibig et al., 2007a; Gruber et al., 2008). It has also been commonly portrayed as a low arousal emotion (Kreibig et al., 2011). "
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