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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 57 (2015) 6, 405 - 414

Review article

Social cognition in bipolar disorder

A. Temmerman, B. Sabbe, M. Morrens

background Bipolar disorder is characterised by disturbed mood regulation. Recently, research has focused on cognitive deficits, including social-cognitive deficits, which have a major impact on daily functioning.
aim To review the recent literature on social cognition in both the symptomatic and the remission phases in bipolar disorder and to discuss the link between social cognition and psychosocial functioning.
method We reviewed the literature systematically using the most important literature databases and cross-references.
results Deficits in social-cognitive domains such as emotion recognition and Theory of Mind become apparent during both the symptomatic and remission phases. These deficits are influenced by moderating variables such as medication use, clinical symptoms and neurocognitive deficits. Furthermore, in some recent studies these social-cognitive deficits have been linked to poorer functioning.
conclusion In bipolar disorder, social-cognitive deficits are present in different areas and are to a large extent independent of the mood phase. There is an urgent need for more research into the various cognitive domains and into the effect that these have on daily functioning in all phases of bipolar disorder.

keywords bipolar disorder, emotion processing, functional outcome, social cognition, theory of mind