Emotion perception and executive functioning predict work status in euthymic bipolar disorder

Kelly A. Ryan, Aaron C. Vederman, Masoud Kamali, David Marshall, Anne L. Weldon, Melvin G. McInnis, Scott A. Langenecker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Functional recovery, including return to work, in Bipolar Disorder (BD) lags behind clinical recovery and may be incomplete when acute mood symptoms have subsided. We examined impact of cognition on work status and underemployment in a sample of 156 Euthymic-BD and 143 controls (HC) who were divided into working/not working groups. Clinical, health, social support, and personality data were collected, and eight cognitive factors were derived from a battery of neuropsychological tests. The HC groups outperformed the BD groups on seven of eight cognitive factors. The working-BD group outperformed the not working-BD group on 4 cognitive factors composed of tasks of emotion processing and executive functioning including processing speed and set shifting. Emotion processing and executive tasks were predictive of BD unemployment, after accounting for number of mood episodes. Four cognitive factors accounted for a significant amount of the variance in work status among the BD participants. Results indicate that patients with BD who are unemployed/unable to work exhibit greater difficulties processing emotional information and on executive tasks that comprise a set shifting or interference resolution component as compared to those who are employed, independent of other factors. These cognitive and affective factors are suggested as targets for treatment and/or accommodations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)472-478
Number of pages7
JournalPsychiatry research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 15 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Bipolar disorder
  • Cognition
  • Functioning
  • Occupation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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