Tag Archives: bipolar disorder

The Finish Line- Lily

I feel like I’m at the last 100 meters of my 800 meter race. I have finished most of the run but these last 100 meters are pivotal to my success. I have finished all of my research and collected all of the surveys, but Brandon and I are still working to analyze all of the results. This is the most important push of our project because we plan to center the rest of our project on the surveys that we handed out and then include the results in our presentation. So Brandon and I want to find patterns within the survey and share that at the upper school independent research assembly. My hope is to find common misperceptions or understandings of bipolar disorder within the surveys and share those facts in the assembly. With all of the knowledge I had gained this semester through my research, and now that I know where our community lacks knowledge of mental disorders, I believe Brandon and I have a responsibility to inform the community of bipolar disorder.

Regarding the survey, we met with T. Deb to see if she had any suggestions on ways to sort through the surveys, who then directed us to T. Alicia. Not satisfied with the suggestions from T. Alicia because of the complexity of the site she offered, we went to the library, and then Kiara. We liked T. Kiara’s advice the best: we skimmed over all of the surveys and took note of any patterns. Then Brandon and I talked about the results and inferred why some people answered certain answers the way they did. For example, I found that the people who noted that they have a mental disorder, or have a family member with a mental disorder, responded more in depth to the question of what they think America’s research of mental disorder is, and whether or not it should be a priority. The longer answers came from the respondents who were personally connected to the topic, and therefore have a stronger opinion, than someone who is not connected to mental illnesses. We just met with Kiara with all of the surveys. She helped us plan our presentation and gave us advice on how to present our results, for example make a word chart of the most commonly used words in the survey, for the question asking terms one associates with mental illness. We have also been working on finishing the annotated bibliography. Brandon and I have made a lot of progress but still have this last sprint until the end of semester!


Photo: Finish Line. Maguzz. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Dec. 2015 <http://www.thelookoutsociety.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/ Finishing-line.jpg&gt;.

Yay! A received survey!! -Lily

Yay! Brandon and I now have access to the famous survey we’ve been talking all about! So this is the first national survey pertaining to the public knowledge, attitudes and behaviors towards schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and autism. 1,000 adults were tested through a research group and answered 21 questions. These questions explored the knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors towards the given disorders.

We thought it would be beneficial to bring this survey to Westtown. It is important, as researchers of bipolar disorder, to understand how informed our school is on bipolar disorder. I hope that I can inform my peers and community about my research of bipolar disorder, so they can then have a more rounded knowledge of the disorder. We hope that we can have the majority of students take this survey and we can then gauge the student body’s knowledge of bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and autism. We offered to share our results with the doctors, hoping it could be useful or interesting to them because they only tested a select faction of the French population.

I think Westtown will have similar results. 95% of the participants identified the names of each disorder, but less than 70% successfully identified the characteristics that corresponded with the disorders. I think Westtown results will show a similarly high percentage of students acknowledging the disorder, but might have a lower percentage of being able to identify the disorders. Students may not have much experience with the disorders, and therefore cannot point out the characteristics that go along with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or autism. 65% of the respondents agreed in social distancing from schizophrenic patients because they are assumed to be dangerous. I think the Westtown percentage will be lower, because we are constantly exposed to being out of our comfort zone and talking to new people. Westtown is more accepting of situations that a non-Westtown student may feel uncomfortable in. The 65% who thought to remove themselves from the situation of a schizophrenic person probably do not have much knowledge of schizophrenia, and relied on prejudgments that drove them to want to walk away. Westtown students would not have as much of a problem with interacting or being in proximity of a schizophrenic patient because Westtown exposes the students to new and different situations on the daily. For example, meeting, students, teachers, or guests with very different demographics or beliefs, and interacting with a schizophrenic person would not be assessed as much different than any other time we have had to step out of our comfort zone to learn or meet people.

The conclusion of this survey is that the attitudes towards people affected with either bipolar disorder or autism are less prejudicial than towards people with schizophrenia. Assumptions drive one’s attitude and behavior towards disorders, rather than one’s knowledge or evidence of information of disorders.

I am excited to analyze the survey results at Westtown and identify will students’ stigmas towards mental disorders. Brandon and I have been talking to T. Deb and Kiara, making sure that this survey is the best that it can be. We want it to be beneficial to our research, but also want it to be concise for the students. So, we will write on the top of the handed out survey that this is only a template of the survey, and also give an overview of our semester project. Maybe you’ll even receive the survey! If so, we’d love to hear your feedback!

PS Brandon and I are working on the formatting of the survey, but if you want to take a peek at it, here you go! I don’t know how to make it public, but request access through gmail and I’ll let you see it! 🙂


Photo: Taking a survey. Truth About Deception. Truth About Deception, n.d. Web. 9 Nov.
2015. <http://www.truthaboutdeception.com/lying-and-deception/

Survey Update and Treatment Research- Brandon

Last week, Lily and I drafted a request to use the survey cited in A first national survey of knowledge, attitudes and behaviours towards schizophrenia, bipolar disorders and autism in France. Teacher Betsy looked over our email this week and after some corrections, we sent it out to the primary authors: Isabelle Durand-Zaleski, Jan Scott, Frédéric Rouillon, and Marion Leboyer. I was not expecting much as these people are published researchers and probably do not have time for a few kids in high school. Continue reading

Survey Development -Brandon

Researching case studies is certainly an important part of my independent project however, there are many other ways to learn about bipolar disorder and mental illness in general. At the beginning of the year, Lily and I talked about creating a survey for the Upper School students. It would give us an opportunity to share our research with the student body and involve them in our project. Also, the survey would allow us to better understand the general public’s perception of bipolar disorder and mental illnesses. Continue reading

Premorbid!? And Comparing Social functioning- Lily

The article is called Premorbid Social Functioning in Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder: Similarities and Differences. (I found it through ProQuest but then found it on Google, so people who might want to open it do not need Westtown’s database) So first, I did not know what premorbid meant. I thought it had something to do with death, but it actually means the preceding symptoms of a given disease. Continue reading

Stigma and Relationships-Brandon

After an interesting tangent last week on the relationship between mania and creativity, I decided to go back to our list of topics and find a case study that addressed one of them. Lily focused on how bipolar disorder affects familial relationships last week so I decided to find a case study that was  centered around social relationships. After clicking through pages and pages of articles on Google Scholar, ProQuest, and Jstor without finding anything relevant I was ready to give up.  Continue reading


This week, I ventured back to the Yale Psychology Course. The lecture was taught by Professor Susan Nolen-Hoeksema who touched on depression, bipolar disorder, and treatments of the two.  I was already familiar with depression however, my knowledge of mania was very basic.
I thought mania was general feelings of happiness and euphoria. While that is true, mania is much more complex. When one experiences a manic period, he/ she has an inflated self-esteem or grandiosity. Continue reading

Change in Direction- Brandon

After my first blog post I was excited about the semester but also a little concerned with how to approach research. I felt that my research question, “How does bipolar disorder affect social interactions?” was limiting as the goal of my independent project was to get an understanding of bipolar disorder as a whole. I expressed my concerns to Teacher Kiara and earlier this week she sent Lily and me a couple case studies to review. Continue reading

Bipolar Disorder- Brandon

After hearing Westtown Students present their independent projects I became very in interested in pursing that path. When class selection for senior year rolled around I realized that I had a free band and decided that doing an Independent Course would be prefect. The mind has always been something that has fascinated me so psychology was a natural fit. Another student in my advisee group, Lily, was thinking about psychology as well so we decided to work together. Continue reading