Socio-economic functioning in patients with bipolar disorder and their unaffected siblings - results from a nation-wide population-based longitudinal study

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BACKGROUND: Few studies have reported real-life data on socio-economic functioning in patients with bipolar disorder and their unaffected first-degree relatives.

METHODS: We used Danish nation-wide population-based longitudinal register linkage to investigate socio-economic functioning in 19 955 patients with bipolar disorder, their 13 923 siblings and 20 sex, age and calendar-matched control individuals from the general population. Follow-up was from 1995 to 2017.

RESULTS: Patients with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder had lower odds of having achieved the highest educational level [OR 0.75 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.73-0.77)], being employed [OR 0.16 (95% CI 0.159-0.168)], having achieved the 80% highest quartile of income [OR 0.33 (95% CI 0.32-0.35)], cohabitating [OR 0.44 (95% CI 0.43-0.46)] and being married [OR 0.54 (95% CI 0.52-0.55)] at first contact to hospital psychiatry as inpatient or outpatient compared with control individuals from the general population. Similarly, siblings to patients with bipolar disorder had a lower functioning within all five socio-economic areas than control individuals. Furthermore, patients and partly siblings showed substantially decreased ability to enhance their socio-economic functioning during the 23 years follow-up compared to controls.

CONCLUSIONS: Socio-economic functioning is substantially decreased in patients with bipolar disorder and their siblings and does not improve during long-term follow-up after the initial hospital contact, highlighting a severe and overlooked treatment gap.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychological Medicine
Number of pages8
ISSN0033-2917
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2023

ID: 286929246