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Miller CJ, Abraham KM, Bajor LA, Lai Z, Kim HM, Nord KM, Goodrich DE, Bauer MS, Kilbourne AM. Quality of life among patients with bipolar disorder in primary care versus community mental health settings. Journal of affective disorders. 2013 Mar 20; 146(1):100-5.
INTRODUCTION: Bipolar disorder is associated with functional impairment across a number of domains, including health-related quality of life (HRQOL). Many patients are treated exclusively in primary care (PC) settings, yet little is known how HRQOL outcomes compare between PC and community mental health (CMH) settings. This study aimed to explore the correlates of HRQOL across treatment settings using baseline data from a multisite, randomized controlled trial for adults with bipolar disorder. METHODS: HRQOL was measured using the SF-12 physical (PCS) and mental (MCS) composite scale scores. Independent sample t-tests were calculated to compare differences in HRQOL between settings. Multivariate regression models then examined the effect of treatment setting on HRQOL, adjusting for covariate demographic factors, mood symptoms (Internal State Scale), hazardous drinking (AUDIT-C), and substance abuse. RESULTS: A total of 384 enrolled participants completed baseline surveys. MCS and PCS scores reflected similar impairment in HRQOL across PC and CMH settings (p = 0.98 and p = 0.49, respectively). Depressive symptoms were associated with lower MCS scores (B = -0.68, p < 0.001) while arthritis/chronic pain was strongly related to lower PCS scores (B = -5.23, p < 0.001). LIMITATIONS: This study lacked a formal diagnostic interview, relied on cross-sectional self-report, and sampled from a small number of sites in two states. DISCUSSION: Participants reported similar impairments in both mental and physical HRQOL in PC and CMH treatment settings, emphasizing the need for integrated care for patients with bipolar disorder regardless of where they present for treatment.