We are seeing the influence of psychosocial stress on the course of bipolar disorder being increasingly recognized. Child adversity is not just a topic that is discussed, but is a topic that is real in the society in which we live. Child adversity can hit close to home. A child experiences this by being in a state or instance of serious or continued difficulty (Merriam-Webster, 2014). Situations of these types are terrible to see and can affect the child, but just not as children. These types of situations could include: verbal, physical, or sexual abuse, neglect, parental death, bullying, or even poverty. The effects of these types of situations can carry on into an individual’s adulthood as well as concerning his/her physical and mental well-being. See what we are looking into is not just child adversity, but another topic as well.
The question being asked is, “Does early child adversity make bipolar disorder more likely?” Individuals have their own views and opinions on this topic and question. In this hypothesis testing, a description of the research issue and a hypothesis statement, regarding the research hypothesis and the null hypothesis will be addressed. For the accuracy of the research issue, the population will have to be determined and the sampling method to help in generating the sample. The data will be described as to how it was collected, the level of measurement, and the statistical technique used in helping of the task of analyzing the data. All these steps will help in the explanation of the findings.
EARLY CHILD ADVERSITY AND THE BIPOLAR DISORDER
In understanding the meaning of child adversity, we want to look at the meaning of the term, bipolar disorder. Here we aren’t just focusing on child adversity; we are focusing on both to see if the child adversity emphasizes bipolar disorder more likely. According to U.S. National Library of Medicine (2014), “Bipolar disorder is a condition in which a person has periods of depression and periods of being extremely happy or being cross or irritable In addition to these mood swings, the person has extreme changes in activity and energy” (Bipolar Disorder). Symptoms of bipolar disorder can be severe and can result in damaged relationships, poor job or school performance, and even suicide (National Institute of Mental Health, 2012).
Bipolar disorder affects both men and women, usually occurring between the ages of 15-25. The exact cause of bipolar disorder is unknown. However, there are factors involved that cause or trigger the occurrences. As we are researching, we are finding environment plays a role. According to Mayo Clinic (2014), “An individual’s stress, abuse, significant loss, or other traumatic experiences can contribute to this disorder” (Causes). All these factors and experiences listed can take place in a child’s life, whether we want to admit it or not. Most of the time, more often than we would care to talk about. This connection gives us a starting point in developing our hypothesis.
With a research issue, it is essential a hypothesis be formulated. “Hypothesis is a prediction often based on informal observation, previous research, or theory that is testing in a research study” (Aron, Aron, & Coups, 2013, p. 108). In a research study, the testing is referred to as a hypothesis procedure. We must first state a research hypothesis and a null hypothesis. “Research hypothesis is a statement in a hypothesis testing procedure about the predicted relation between populations. Null hypothesis is a statement about a relation between populations that is the opposite of the research hypothesis” (Aron, Aron, & Coups, 2013, p. 108). The null hypothesis is often said to be the opposite of what is being predicted. For this study, the research hypothesis is, “Early child adversity makes bipolar disorder more likely.” The null hypothesis is, “Early child adversity does not make bipolar disorder more likely.”
In any hypothesis testing procedure, there is great emphasis in determining the population and the sampling method the researcher is using to generate the sample, “The population is the entire group of people to which the researcher intends the results of a study to apply. The sample is the scores of a particular group of people studied” (Aron, Aron, & Coups, 2013, p. 84). For this research issue, the population would include participants consisting of 58 adults, including 29 males and 29 females. These individuals have a diagnosis of bipolar I disorder. According to National Institute of Mental Health (2012), “Bipolar I disorder is defined by manic and mixed episodes that last at least seven days.
Usually depressive episodes occur as well, lasting at least two weeks” (How is Bipolar Diagnosed?). The sampling method used to generate the sample would be classified as nonrandom samples. With this sample method, the probability selection cannot be accurately determined. In using the nonrandom sampling method, we are focusing on the type judgmental/purposive sampling. These individuals of 58 are being chosen with a specific purpose in mind. These individuals are fit for the research compared to other individuals (“Concepts and Definitions”, n.d.). This sampling method makes perfect since we are attempting to research if child adversity is a contributing factor to bipolar disorder.
Regarding the 58 adults of men and women, the data would be collected and evaluated every three months, all the way up to a year. This information would be collected by structured interviews discussing stressful life events pertaining to and dealing with early child adversity. In analyzing the data, the best statistical technique to use would be the t test for independent means. “T test for independent means is a hypothesis testing procedure in which there are two separate groups of people tested” (Aron, Aron, & Coups, 2013, p. 84). Involved in this research issue is two separate groups of people with 29 male participants and 29 female participants. We are testing both of the same number, because we want to find out the conclusion as a whole about the people.
Also, we tested equal amounts of both men and women, because they both are equally likely to be diagnosed with bipolar disorder (WebMD, 2014). The data would be analyzed using the five steps of the t test for independent means. ‘Step one consists of stating the research hypothesis and the null hypothesis. Step two consists of determining the characteristics of the comparison distribution. Step three is determining the cutoff sample score on the comparison distribution at which the null hypothesis should be rejected. Step four is determining the sample’s score on the comparison distribution. And last, step five is deciding to reject the null hypothesis by comparing steps three and four” (Aron, Aron, & Coups, 2013, p. 84). In following these steps to analyze the data, we can account for to either accept or reject the null hypothesis on early child adversity not making bipolar disorder more likely.
After going into detail of the research issue, formulating the hypothesis statement, determining the population, deciding and describing the sampling method, the task of collecting the data, the level of measurement, and the statistical technique for analyzing the data, now is the big intense moment. The results exhibited that the interaction of early child adversity severity and those stressful life events involved predicted an occurrence in a manner consistent with the research hypothesis for both the men and the women. Therefore, we reject the null hypothesis. There were some limitations to this research issue and the hypothesis testing procedure. The sample size and the number of past episodes were determined retrospectively, mainly through self-report.
But, another thought to keep in mind is the individuals who experienced early child adversity had a significantly younger age of bipolar onset. Concerning this conclusion, it would be of great importance for the suggestion for further studies of stress mechanisms in bipolar disorder and of treatments designed to intervene early among those at risk. I would propose when and if the conditions of bipolar disorder are identified, an effective treatment plan needs to be implemented. This approach would be of great benefit for the patient’s health, wellbeing, and longevity. Studies speak for themselves regarding childhood adversity being prevalent and having pervasive and long term impacts on mental and physical health.
Aron, A., Aron, E., & Coups, E. (2013). Statistics for Psychology (6th ed.). Retrieved from The
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Concepts and Definitions. (n.d.). Retrieved from
Mayo Clinic. (2014). _Bipolar Disorder Causes_. Retrieved from
Merriam-Webster. (2014). _Adversity_. Retrieved from
National Institute of Mental Health. (2012). _Bipolar Disorder in Adults_. Retrieved from
U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2014). _Bipolar Disorder_. Retrieved from