Could Hypomanic Traits Explain Selective Migration? Verifying the Hypothesis by the Surveys on Sardinian Migrants

Carta MG1, *, Moro MF1, Kovess V2, Brasesco MV3, Bhat KM4, Angermeyer MC5, 1, Akiskal HS3
1 Department of Public Health and Clinical and Molecular Medicine, University of Cagliari, Cagliari, Italy
2 Ecole de Hautes Etudes en Santé Publique, Paris Rennes, France
3 University of California at San Diego, V.A. Medical Center -- Psychiatry (116A), 3350 La Jolla Village Drive, San Diego, CA 92161, USA
4 Department of Neuroscience And Cell Biology, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas, USA
5 Centre for Public Mental Health, Gösing am Wagram, Austria

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© Giovanni et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

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* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Public Health and Clinical and Molecular Medicine, University of Cagliari, Cagliari, Italy; Tel/Fax: +390706093498; E-mail:



A recent survey put forward the hypothesis that the emigration that occurred from Sardinia from the 1960’s to the 1980’s, selected people with a hypomanic temperament. The paper aims to verify if the people who migrated from Sardinia in that period have shown a high risk of mood disorders in the surveys carried out in their host countries, and if the results are consistent with this hypothesis.


This is systematic review.


In the 1970’s when examining the attitudes towards migration in Sardinian couples waiting to emigrate, Rudas found that the decision to emigrate was principally taken by males. Female showed lower self-esteem than male emigrants. A study on Sardinian immigrants in Argentina carried out in 2001-02, at the peak of the economic crisis, found a high risk of depressive disorders in women only. These results were opposite to the findings recorded ten years earlier in a survey on Sardinian immigrants in Paris, where the risk of Depressive Episode was higher in young men only.


Data point to a bipolar disorder risk for young (probably hypomanic) male migrants in competitive, challenging conditions; and a different kind of depressive episodes for women in trying economic conditions. The results of the survey on Sardinian migrants are partially in agreement with the hypothesis of a selective migration of people with a hypomanic temperament. Early motivations and self-esteem seem related to the ways mood disorders are expressed, and to the vulnerability to specific triggering situations in the host country.

Keywords: Bipolar Disorder, Hypomanic Temperament, Migration, Gender Difference, Sardinia, Goal Striving Stress.