Attachment in Patients with Bipolar and Unipolar Depression: A Comparison with Clinical and Non-clinical Controls
Angelo Picardi1, *, Mauro Pallagrosi2, Laura Fonzi7, Giovanni Martinotti3, Emanuele Caroppo4, Giulio Nicolò Meldolesi5, Giancarlo Di Gennaro6, Marco De Risi6, Massimo Biondi2
Identifiers and Pagination:Year: 2019
First Page: 143
Last Page: 152
Publisher ID: CPEMH-15-143
Article History:Received Date: 25/10/2019
Revision Received Date: 25/11/2019
Acceptance Date: 26/11/2019
Electronic publication date: 31/12/2019
Collection year: 2019
open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode. This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
A link between depression and insecure attachment has long been postulated. Although many studies examined the relationship between depressive symptoms and attachment, relatively few studies were performed on patients diagnosed with depression. Also, research on patients with bipolar disorder is scarce.
We aimed at testing the association between attachment insecurity and unipolar and bipolar depression.
We studied 21 patients with bipolar disorder, current episode depressed, and three age- and sex-matched groups, each consisting of 21 individuals: patients with major depressive disorder, recurrent episode; patients with epilepsy; non-clinical participants. The Experience in Close Relationships questionnaire was used to assess adult attachment style.
Patients with both bipolar and unipolar depression displayed significantly higher scores on attachment-related avoidance as compared with patients with epilepsy and non-clinical participants. Also, patients with bipolar depression scored significantly higher on attachment-related anxiety than all other groups. In both psychiatric groups, attachment dimensions were not significantly correlated with global clinical severity or severity of depression.
Despite some study limitations, our results are consistent with some previous studies and provide support to Bowlby's seminal hypothesis that attachment insecurity may predispose to depression. Attachment theory may provide a valuable theoretical framework for future research and for guiding treatment.