Increased reward-oriented impulsivity in older bipolar patients: A preliminary study

Isabelle E. Bauer, Breno Satler Diniz, Thomas D. Meyer, Antonio Lucio Teixeira, Marsal Sanches, Danielle Spiker, Giovana Zunta-Soares, Jair C. Soares

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objective Impulsivity is a well-established trait of bipolar disorder (BD) that persists across mood phases. It is, however, still unknown whether, in BD, impulsivity remains stable or varies in intensity over the lifespan. This cross-sectional study compared impulsive behavior in older euthymic BD patients and healthy individuals using a range of self-rating and behavioral measures of impulsivity. Methods 28 BD patients (56.07 ± 4.08 years, 16 women) and 15 healthy controls (HC; 55.1 ± 3.95 years, 6 women) were administered the Barratt Impulsivity Scale (BIS) and selected tasks of the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Batter (CANTAB) reflecting impulsivity. Multivariate analysis of variance controlled for age compared impulsivity measures across BD and HC. Results BD patients displayed poor decision making, risk taking, and increased delay aversion. Other measures of impulsivity such as response inhibition, sustained cognitive control, and BIS scores were, overall, comparable between BD and HC. Conclusions These preliminary findings suggest that, in BD, aspects of impulsivity related to reward-based decision making persist into late adulthood. Large scale, longitudinal studies are needed to evaluate the relationship of age to impulsivity over time, and explore the link between impulsivity and illness progression in elderly individuals with BD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)585-592
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Bipolar disorder
  • Cognitive control
  • Impulsivity
  • Old age
  • Reward

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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