Relationships between hypomanic symptoms and impulsivity and risk-taking propensity in an international sample of undergraduate students

Thomas Richardson, University of Bath, University of Dublin
Hugh Garavan2*, University of Dublin

Full manuscript: http://www.kon.org/urc/v9/richardson.html

Abstract This study examined relationships between hypomanic symptoms and impulsivity and risk-taking propensity in an international sample of 246 undergraduate students, finding statistically significant positive correlations between hypomania and impulsivity and risk-taking propensity. Multiple regression analyses provided further insight into these relationships.

Introduction According to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition (DSM-IV-TR), a ‘hypomanic episode’ is mental illness characterised by symptoms such as a decreased need for sleep, flight of ideas, increased talkativeness, grandiosity, and an increase in goal-directed activity (APA, 2000). These symptoms occur within an elevated or irritable mood which lasts for at least 4 days. Multiple episodes of hypomania and depression warrant a diagnosis of bipolar II disorder (APA, 2000). A number of the DSM-IV-TR diagnostic criteria for hypomania suggest impulsive and risk-taking behaviours. For example, Criterion B states possible symptoms of “increased involvement in pleasurable activities that have high potential for painful consequences” (APA, 2000, p. 365). Criterion B5 also states that “Distractibility is often present, as evidenced by rapid changes in speech or activity as a result of responding to various irrelevant external stimuli” (APA, 2000, p. 366), and criterion B7 states that “there may be impulsive activity such as buying sprees, reckless driving, or foolish business investments” (APA, 2000, p.366).

Read the full manuscript: http://www.kon.org/urc/v9/richardson.html