Family functioning- Lily

I found a really interesting article from one of the library’s databases: The Role of Family Functioning in Bipolar Disorder in Families. This was a very long article with a lot of results and information presented, and I want to share the ones that really stood out to me, and that I might want to explore further. The tables explaining the results were very complex, and I plan to ask Kiara if she could explain the tables of information to me, so I can have a better understanding of this article. (We were unfortunately not able to meet this past week.)
This article explored how a family might be affected by having a family member with bipolar disorder. 272 families with children from ages 5-17 were examined. The results showed there is a correlation between parental diagnosis of mood disorder and child bipolar disorder through poor family relations.
The research and results given in this article draw three possible conclusions A) Mania and mixed states disturb family processing and will worsen their functioning B) The burden of depression is more disruptive to family processes than bipolar, mania, and hypomania. C) Bipolar disorder might correlate to one’s higher functioning period, reducing the effects of depression on family functioning.
These results encompass the main point of the article and were mostly supported by the collected evidence. These conclusions support the following hypothesizes that are found in the article: 1. The history of bipolar disorder in the parents is related to impaired family function, and decreased problem solving and communication within the family. 2. The poor communication and problem solving leads to increased levels of conflict within the family. 3. Family functioning and conflict mediate the relationship between mood disorder in the parent and in the child.
The procedure in this lab used the Conflict Behavior Questionnaire, which “measures perceived communication-conflict between parents and children and taps both dissatisfaction with family member’s behavior and evaluations of the interactions between family members.” This questionnaire was able to draw conclusions about a family with a member with bipolar disorder and the functioning as a whole family. Before the questionnaire, the subjects filled out personal information so that the results could be sufficiently analyzed and sorted. The families that contributed to the results are made up of very diverse aspects-like number of kids, marital status, age, sex, spectrum of disorder, and history of mental illness.
One of the results that stuck out to me was that the girls’ families were significantly worse at problem solving than the boys’ families. The article did not go into an explanation of why, but if I find the time, that is something I want to look at more closely. When I read this, the first reasoning of a bipolar girl’s family would be worse at problem solving is that girls are notorious for whining, getting their way and being relentless. That is just my initial assumption after that given fact, but I want to research that more in depth.
Hypothesis one was proven correct. The families that were categorized with both parents having a mood disorder were significantly worse than a family with just one parent with a mood disorder. Family problem solving resulted to be worse when both parents were affected with some sort of mood disorder than just one bipolar parent. These results suggest that the parental mood disorders affect family function more significantly than the certain type of mood disorder.
This seems off topic from our focus, but how do the other disorders affect family relations? How might ADHD or OCD affect a family’s functioning compared to a family only affected by bipolar disorder? This article provoked a lot of questions, many of which I would love to ask people who have been affected first hand, and compare the article to what they tell me… I am excited to keep exploring different aspects of bipolar disorder.

Sad girl with her fighting parents in the background

Sad girl with her fighting parents in the background

Photo: [The Collateral Damage of Bipolar Disorder]. (n.d.). Retrieved from
The Collateral Damage of Bipolar Disorder. By Ronald B Cohen,

Du Rocher Schudlich, T.,D., Youngstrom, E. A., Calabrese, J. R., & Findling, R. L. (2008). The role of family functioning in bipolar disorder in families. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 36(6), 849-63. doi:

2 thoughts on “Family functioning- Lily

  1. realrowo

    Very interesting information on the family functioning of bipolar disorder! i absolutely agree with you that family functioning plays a significant role on the younger generations because youngsters are often receivers of emotions and habits in a family setting. Of course everyone has been influenced, to some extent, by his/her parents’ genetic information. But more importantly, education and environment are crucial factors for a person’s growth. If during communication, patterns of bipolar disorder are shown by the parents, it is hard to imagine how the kids are going to be unaffected.

    All in all, that’s some very inspiring information. I look forward to reading more of your work!

  2. brandonlee2016

    Lily, glad to hear what you did this week. Is there any way you could find the Conflict Behavior Questionnaire? I found the procedure really interesting, is the test something that i could take myself?


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