Does anxiety increase impulsivity in patients with bipolar disorder or major depressive disorder?

Marcella Bellani, John P. Hatch, Mark A. Nicoletti, Astrid E. Ertola, Giovana Zunta-Soares, Alan C. Swann, Paolo Brambilla, Jair C. Soares

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The objective of this study was to examine whether anxiety increases impulsivity among patients with bipolar disorder (BPD) and major depressive disorder (MDD). Subjects comprised 205 BPD (mean age ± SD 36.6 ± 11.5 y; 29.3% males) and 105 with MDD (mean age ± SD 38 ± 13.1 y; 29.5% males) diagnosed using the DSM-IV-SCID. Impulsivity was assessed with the Barratt Impulsivity Scale and anxiety with the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale. Comorbid anxiety disorders were present in 58.9% of the BPD and 29.1% of MDD. BPD were significantly more impulsive than MDD (. p <0.001), and both BPD and MDD subjects showed significantly higher impulsivity when anxiety was present either as a comorbidity (. p = 0.010) or as a symptom (. p = 0.011). Impulsivity rose more rapidly with increasing anxiety symptoms in MDD than in BPD. The presence of anxiety, either as a comorbid disorder or as current anxiety symptoms, is associated with higher impulsivity in subjects with either BPD or MDD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)616-621
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Psychiatric Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2012


  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Impulsivity
  • Major depressive disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Does anxiety increase impulsivity in patients with bipolar disorder or major depressive disorder?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this