Progression of the functional deficit in a group of patients with bipolar disorder: a cluster analysis based on longitudinal data
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We aimed to examine the trajectory of psychosocial functioning in a sample of euthymic patients with bipolar disorder (BD) throughout a 5-year follow-up. Ninety-nine euthymic bipolar patients and 40 healthy controls (HC) were included. A neurocognitive assessment (17 neurocognitive measures grouped in 6 domains) was carried out at baseline. The split version of the Global Assessment of Functioning scale (GAF-F) and the Functioning Assessment Short Test (FAST) were used to examine psychosocial functioning at baseline (T1), and after a 5-year follow-up (T2). The statistical analysis was performed through repeated measures ANOVA and hierarchical cluster analysis based on the GAF-F and the FAST scores at T1 and T2. Eighty-seven patients (87.9%) were evaluated at T2. The cluster analysis identified two groups of patients. The first group included 44 patients (50.6%) who did not show a progression of the functional impairment (BD-NPI). The second cluster, which included 43 patients (49.4%), was characterized by a progression of the functional impairment (BD-PI). The BD-PI had a higher number of relapses and a higher number of hospitalizations during the follow-up period, as well as worse neurocognitive functioning than the BD-NPI. The repeated measures ANOVA confirmed that the psychosocial performance of BD-NPI is stable while there was a progression of the functional deterioration in BD-PI. The trajectory of the psychosocial functioning of patients with BD is not homogeneous. Our results suggest that in at least one subset of patients with BD, which might account for half of the patients, the disease has a progressive course. © 2019, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.
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