Réduire le risque de transmission intergénérationnelle de trouble bipolaire: une prévention visant à améliorer les relations parent-enfant et réduire le risque de psychopathologie chez les enfants


Lisa Serravalle

Université Concordia


Domaine : Santé de la mère, des enfants et des adolescents 

Programme : Formation de maîtrise

Concours 2017-2018


Unité SOUTIEN du Québec (Stratégie de recherche axée sur le patient)

Developing a bipolar spectrum disorder is 14 times greater in the offspring of parents with bipolar disorder (OBD) compared to offspring of healthy parents. OBD have been shown to have elevated levels of externalizing and internalizing symptoms, in part due to exposure to environmental stressors. The occurrence of an affective disorder in a parent has been shown to increase the likelihood of children being exposed to maladaptive parent-child interactions. For this reason, we have developed a 12-week prevention program aimed to improve interactions between parents and their children, as well as reduce negative interactions by targeting ineffective disciplinary techniques. For parents, an adapted family-focused treatment for bipolar disorder teaches communication enhancement, problem solving skills training, and increasing structure and consistency in the home. Children learn stress reduction techniques, to cope with their stressful home environment as well as learn effective ways of communicating and expressing their emotions. Assessments occur pre-prevention, post-prevention, and 6-months post-prevention.

The assessments include a diagnostic interview, measures of externalizing and internalizing symptoms in youth, and we also assessed parent-child communication using a validated etch-a-sketch paradigm. Our hypotheses are: (1) parent-child dyads with parents suffering from BD will have more negative interaction patterns, relative to controls, (2) the intervention will improve interaction patterns in the parent-chid dyad with a parent having BD, (3) these improvements will result in decreased externalizing and internalizing symptoms in OBD immediately post-intervention and be maintained at six-months follow-up.  The development of this family-based cognitive-behavioral intervention has potential to advance research aimed at finding effective ways in reducing psychopathology in these high-risk youth.