A brief online intervention to address aggression in the context of emotion-related impulsivity for those treated for bipolar disorder: Feasibility, acceptability and pilot outcome data

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Although aggression is related to manic symptoms among those with bipolar disorder, new work suggests that some continue to experience elevations of aggression after remission. This aggression post-remission appears related to a more general tendency to respond impulsively to states of emotion, labelled emotion-related impulsivity. We recently developed the first intervention designed to address aggression in the context of emotion-related impulsivity. Here, we describe feasibility, acceptability, and pilot data on outcomes for 21 persons who received treatment for bipolar disorder and endorsed high levels of aggression and emotion-related impulsivity. As with other interventions for aggression or bipolar disorder, attrition levels were high. Those who completed the intervention showed large changes in aggression using the interview-based Modified Overt Aggression Scale that were sustained through three months and not observed during wait list control. Although they also showed declines in the self-rated Buss-Perry Aggression Questionnaire and in self-rated emotion-related impulsivity as assessed with the Feelings Trigger Action Scale, these self-ratings also declined during the waitlist control. Despite the limitations, the findings provide the first evidence that a brief, easily disseminated intervention could have promise for reducing aggression among those with bipolar disorder.

Journal of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapy
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Mackenzie Zisser
Mackenzie Zisser
Doctoral Student in Clinical Psychology

My research focuses on the application of novel technologies to better understand mechanisms in depression.