Openness predicts cognitive functioning in bipolar disorder

Deborah Stringer, David Marshall, Bethany Pester, Amanda Baker, Scott A. Langenecker, Kaley Angers, Nicole Frazier, Christopher Archer, Masoud Kamali, Melvin McInnis, Kelly A. Ryan

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Objectives Openness to experience (O) is a well-established personality factor and is associated with cognitive performance. Little is known about the personality-cognitive relationship in bipolar disorder, an illness with significant variability in mood. Cognitive evaluation is essential in psychopathology assessment as it may reflect underlying disease processes and psychosocial functional capacity. Screening using a proxy personality variable may identify those in need of comprehensive cognitive testing. We hypothesized that O and measures of cognition would associate in both the Bipolar Disorder (BD) and healthy control (HC) samples, whereas neuroticism and extraversion would correlate with cognition only in the BD sample. Methods Data from a longitudinal study of BD were used to study the association between personality factors and cognitive measures of attention, executive functioning, memory and fine motor skills. Regression analyses were used to determine the variables that account for the association between personality and cognition. Results Aspects of O explained significant cognitive variance (~5%) in both groups; this persisted when demographic variables (including BD versus HC status) were considered. Neuroticism and extraversion did not consistently correlate with cognitive performance in either group. Limitations There were more females in the HC group who were slightly younger compared to the BD group. We lack direct measures of positive affect, and there is a reliance on a single measure of personality. Conclusions BD Individuals scoring low on self-reported Openness are potential candidates for more comprehensive cognitive assessments (which represent a limited resource).

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)51-57
    Number of pages7
    JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
    StatePublished - Oct 15 2014


    • Bipolar disorder
    • Cognitive functioning
    • Neuropsychology
    • Openness to experience
    • Personality

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Clinical Psychology
    • Psychiatry and Mental health

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