Frequency of subsyndromal symptoms and employment status in patients with bipolar disorder

  • Michael Bauer
  • Tasha Glenn
  • Paul Grof
  • Natalie L. Rasgon
  • Wendy Marsh
  • Kemal Sagduyu
  • Martin Alda
  • Ute Lewitzka
  • Johanna Sasse
  • Eliza Kozuch-Krolik
  • Peter C. Whybrow



This study investigated the frequency of episodes and subsyndromal symptoms based on employment status in patients with bipolar disorder.


Patients with bipolar disorder (n = 281) provided daily self-reported mood ratings for 5 months, returning 46,292 days of data. Data were analyzed using three employment status groups: disabled (n = 75), full-time employee or full-time student (n = 135), and other (n = 71). Demographic characteristics were compared by employment status. A univariate general linear model with employment status and other demographic variables as fixed factors and covariates was used to analyze the percent of days in episodes and percent of days with subsyndromal symptoms.


While there was no significant difference in the percent of days in episodes among the employment groups, disabled patients suffered subsyndromal symptoms of depression twice as frequently as those in the full-time group. Disabled patients spent 15% more days either in episodes or with subsyndromal symptoms than those in the full-time group, equivalent to about 45 extra sick days a year.


Frequent subsyndromal symptoms, especially depressive, may preclude full-time responsibilities outside the home and contribute to disability in bipolar disorder. Additional treatments to reduce the frequency of subsyndromal symptoms are needed.


bipolar disorder employment disability subsyndromal symptoms 


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Copyright information

© Steinkopff Verlag Darmstadt 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Bauer
    • 1
    • 2
  • Tasha Glenn
    • 3
  • Paul Grof
    • 4
    • 5
  • Natalie L. Rasgon
    • 6
  • Wendy Marsh
    • 7
  • Kemal Sagduyu
    • 8
  • Martin Alda
    • 9
  • Ute Lewitzka
    • 1
  • Johanna Sasse
    • 1
  • Eliza Kozuch-Krolik
    • 1
  • Peter C. Whybrow
    • 2
  1. 1.Dept. of Psychiatry and PsychotherapyUniversitätsklinikum Carl Gustav Carus, Technische Universität DresdenDresdenGermany
  2. 2.Dept. of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human BehaviorUniversity of California Los Angeles (UCLA)Los AngelesUSA
  3. 3.ChronoRecord Association Inc.FullertonUSA
  4. 4.Mood Disorders Center of OttawaOttawaCanada
  5. 5.Dept. of PsychiatryUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  6. 6.Dept. of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesStanford School of MedicinePalo AltoUSA
  7. 7.Dept. of PsychiatryUniversity of MassachusettsWorcesterUSA
  8. 8.Dept. of PsychiatryUniversity of Missouri, Kansas City School of MedicineKansas CityUSA
  9. 9.Dept. of PsychiatryDalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada

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