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Ray E. McHale, Psy.D., is a 2018 graduate of the Psy.D. Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University, New England

Dissertation Committee:

  • Martha Straus, PhD, Committee Chair
  • Christine Chamberlin, PhD, Committee Member
  • Vincent Pignatiello, PsyD, Committee Member

Document Type

Dissertation

Publication Date

2018

Abstract

People living with bipolar disorder have vastly different presentations and experiences despite sharing a common diagnosis. While some research has explored the role of temperament in these different presentations (Azorin, Adida, & Belzeaux, 2015; Graham, Parker, Breakspear, & Mitchell, 2015; Iasevoli et al., 2013), little is currently known about whether individuals’ levels of introversion or extraversion are related to the symptoms they experience or their general way of understanding their experiences with bipolar disorder. For this study, participants were asked to complete an online survey that measured their level of extraversion, their symptoms of mania, and background information concerning their diagnosis and treatment history. Participants were also asked to complete an open-ended questionnaire about their subjective experiences with bipolar disorder. This study used a qualitative design. Qualitative data collected from three responses were analyzed using Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) in order to gain a better understanding of how introverted and extraverted individuals with bipolar disorder make sense of their experiences. Several major clusters of themes were identified from the participants’ descriptions of their experiences: (a) common symptoms, (b) atypical experiences, (c) initial awareness of manic episode, (d) negative effects of symptoms, (e) positive experiences of symptoms, (f) seeking support, (g) most and least helpful coping mechanisms, and (h) effect on identity. While several of their experiences overlapped, some differences were noted in how participants of varying levels of extraversion described their experiences within each theme.

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Ray E. McHale

ORCID Scholar ID# 0000-0002-4644-3347

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