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Title: Risk-taking behaviour in people diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder
Author: Sicilia, Anna
ISNI:       0000 0004 6421 7006
Awarding Body: Lancaster University
Current Institution: Lancaster University
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis was designed to explore the nature of risk-taking behaviour in people diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder (BD). Research has traditionally attributed risk-taking behaviour in BD to difficulties in impulse control. Nonetheless, impulsivity remains predominantly measured using self-report questionnaires, with dubious validity. The links between impulsivity and risk-taking have also been challenged by new research in the field of decision-making suggesting a different conceptualisation of this often misunderstood set of behaviours. In particular, Fuzzy Trace Theory (FTT) offers an interesting framework to understand risk-taking as a “rational/deliberate” act, rather than an impulsive one, providing evidence for a “reasoned route” to risk-taking. This piece of research comprised of a systematic review, an empirical paper and a critical appraisal. The aim of the systematic review was to clarify whether there is consistent evidence to suggest that risk-taking behaviours are more prevalent in people diagnosed with BD compared to controls. Clinical and demographic predictors of risk-taking in BD were also explored. The research paper aimed at characterising a group of people with BD in the context of FTT and to explore whether measures of FTT were predictive of higher risk-taking tendencies after controlling for impulsivity and mood. Finally, the critical appraisal aimed at discussing the dilemma of conducting quantitative research as a trainee clinical psychologist. The review suggested that people diagnosed with BD are more likely to engage in risk-taking behaviour, but that this is dependent on mood state and mainly prevalent during states of mania. Some evidence in support of clinical and demographic predictors of risktaking in BD was also found. The empirical paper also supported the hypothesis that FTT predicts risk-taking behaviour, even after accounting for the effects of mood and impulsivity. The findings were discussed in relation to previous research on the topic.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral