Publication Date



Open access

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Psychology (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Dr. Sheri L. Johnson - Committee Chair

Second Committee Member

Dr. Charles S. Carver - Committee Member

Third Committee Member

Dr. Andrew L. Brickman - Committee Member


Although most research on bipolar I disorder has focused on biological models, recent investigation has elucidated the importance of psychosocial predictors of the course of illness. Theories of the Behavioral Activation System?s role in affect have helped unify biological and environmental explanations of the disorder. Along these lines, researchers have proposed that goal striving and attainment predict manic symptoms. In the current study, experience-sampling methodology was used to assess the relationship between fluctuations in goal striving and affect among 12 persons with bipolar I disorder and 12 without a history of mood disorder (control group). Participants completed measures of goal striving and affect three times each day for a period of three weeks. It was hypothesized that moving more quickly than expected toward a given goal would result in decreased subsequent effort toward that goal (coasting) for the control group, and increased subsequent effort (anti-coasting) for those with bipolar I disorder, with positive affect mediating the relationship in both cases. Results indicated that those in the bipolar I disorder group were significantly more likely to anti-coast than those in the control group. This finding, however, was explained primarily by gender, as men in the bipolar I disorder group showed no evidence of anti-coasting. In addition, there was no evidence of the mediating role of positive affect in these phenomena. Implications of the findings, limitations, and future directions are discussed.


Bipolar Disorder; Goal-striving; Affect; Experience-sampling