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04-11-2017 | Uitgave 6/2018

Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 6/2018

The Behavioral Approach System (BAS) Model of Vulnerability to Bipolar Disorder: Evidence of a Continuum in BAS Sensitivity across Adolescence

Research on Child and Adolescent Psychopathology > Uitgave 6/2018
Richard T. Liu, Taylor A. Burke, Lyn Y. Abramson, Lauren B. Alloy


Behavioral Approach System (BAS) sensitivity has been implicated in the development of a variety of different psychiatric disorders. Prominent among these in the empirical literature are bipolar spectrum disorders (BSDs). Given that adolescence represents a critical developmental stage of risk for the onset of BSDs, it is important to clarify the latent structure of BAS sensitivity in this period of development. A statistical approach especially well-suited for delineating the latent structure of BAS sensitivity is taxometric analysis, which is designed to evaluate whether the latent structure of a construct is taxonic (i.e., categorical) or dimensional (i.e., continuous) in nature. The current study applied three mathematically non-redundant taxometric procedures (i.e., MAMBAC, MAXEIG, and L-Mode) to a large community sample of adolescents (n = 12,494) who completed two separate measures of BAS sensitivity: the BIS/BAS Scales Carver and White (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 67, 319–333. 1994) and the Sensitivity to Reward and Sensitivity to Punishment Questionnaire (Torrubia et al. Personality and Individual Differences, 31, 837–862. 2001). Given the significant developmental changes in reward sensitivity that occur across adolescence, the current investigation aimed to provide a fine-grained evaluation of the data by performing taxometric analyses at an age-by-age level (14–19 years; n for each age ≥ 883). Results derived from taxometric procedures, across all ages tested, were highly consistent, providing strong evidence that BAS sensitivity is best conceptualized as dimensional in nature. Thus, the findings suggest that BAS-related vulnerability to BSDs exists along a continuum of severity, with no natural cut-point qualitatively differentiating high- and low-risk adolescents. Clinical and research implications for the assessment of BSD-related vulnerability are discussed.

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Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 6/2018 Naar de uitgave