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01-06-2006 | Original Article | Uitgave 3/2006

Cognitive Therapy and Research 3/2006

Extreme Goal Setting and Vulnerability to Mania Among Undiagnosed Young Adults

Cognitive Therapy and Research > Uitgave 3/2006
Sheri L. Johnson, Charles S. Carver


During euthymia people with bipolar disorder and their unaffected family members accomplish more than the general population. People with bipolar disorder, or those who are at risk for it, also set higher goals in laboratory tasks than other people. The work reported here examines whether persons vulnerable to mania set elevated goals in their lives. In two studies, a measure of lifetime vulnerability to mania was related to traits bearing on incentive sensitivity, and also to endorsement of high ambitions for fame, wealth, and political influence (assessed by a new measure). Relations were weaker to ambitions for other kinds of extreme goals. The effects were independent of current symptoms of mania and depression and lifetime depression. There was also evidence that incentive sensitivity and elevated aspirations made independent contributions to variance in the measure of manic risk. Discussion focuses on the implications of high goal setting for understanding goal dysregulation and mania.

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