Unlabelled: In bipolar disorder (BD) patients, trauma has been associated with emotional dysregulation, potentially leading to an increase in impulsivity and dissociative symptomatology. We aimed to investigate the relationship between childhood trauma, impulsivity, and dissociative symptomatology in BD with a special focus on the role of impulsivity as a mediator between childhood trauma and dissociative symptomatology. Methods: We administered the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ), Barratt Impulsivity Scale (BIS-11), Dissociative Experience Scale (DES-II), and Alda scale. Spearman correlation analysis assessed the independent variables associated with CTQ and DES-II. We performed a mediation analysis using the bootstrapping technique to verify the hypothesis that impulsivity represented an intervening variable between childhood trauma and dissociation. Results: CTQ and DES-II scores in 100 BD patients were both significantly associated with the number of lifetime affective episodes, a clinical course of mania-depression-euthymia, suicidal ideation, a history of antidepressant-induced manic switch, poor response to mood stabilizers, mixed features, psychotic symptoms, aggressive behavior, and BIS-11 (p<0.01). At the regression analysis, CTQ was associated with DES-II (p<0.001), while DES-II was associated with the CTQ (p<0.001) and BIS-11 (p< 0.001), as well as with aggression (p=0.002). The mediation analysis showed that impulsivity significantly mediated the effect of childhood trauma on dissociative symptomatology (z=25.71; 0.930-1.084). Conclusions: Impulsivity might play a key role in onset and prognosis of BD patients. Our findings may help in increasing the knowledge about the possible association between impulsivity, childhood traumatic experiences and dissociative symptomatology. BD patients with dissociative symptoms might benefit from a tailored treatment which could include a training based on emotional and behavioral regulation.
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