Publication Date

April 2008


College of Arts and Sciences


Psychology: Human Services Counseling

Primary Subject Area

Psychology, Developmental


Bipolar Disorder, children, mothers, relationships, attachment, caregivers


Bipolar Disorder is a socially crippling disease. Not only does it affect the one with the diagnosis, but it also affects the family through caregiver burden, particularly the children. Children of mothers with Bipolar Disorder encounter positive and negative effects from an upbringing by mothers with Bipolar I Disorder. Some symptoms of a mother’s Bipolar Disorder influence the child’s attachment style, coping mechanisms and sociability. A study was conducted testing how the parenting style of mothers with Bipolar I Disorder affected the college age students in their childhood and their current interpersonal experiences. A two part survey rated statements about close relationships and focused on those to whom the participants turned for social support and how satisfied the participants were with their social support. The response for students with mothers who have Bipolar I Disorder was significantly smaller than expected (n=3); however, the survey revealed a need for an integration and potential comparison of the prevalence of mothers with Bipolar I Disorder between secular and evangelical campuses. The survey raised awareness for stronger availability of social support satisfaction based on responses and an investigation of reasons for anxiety and a lack of personal security in relationships.