In patients with bipolar disorder (BD), quality of life (QOL) scores have been largely attributed to mood symptoms. However, impairments in QOL may occur even in euthymia, and differential factors have been put forward as important determinants of QOL. Our study was designed to assess the role of cognitive performance in self-reported QOL in patients with BD. In this cross-sectional study, we examined the relation between cognitive variables and self-reported QOL in 55 bipolar I euthymic patients and 50 healthy subjects. Participants were administered the World Health Organization Quality of Life Assessment-Abbreviated version and a battery of neuropsychological tests. BD patients showed lower scores in all QOL domains as compared with control subjects. Poorer self-reported QOL correlated significantly with worse cognitive performance, especially on tests of executive functioning and verbal abstraction. A linear regression model revealed that all QOL domains were significantly predicted by cognitive variables, with variances ranging from 12% to 37%, and from 24% to 54% when clinical variables were added to the model. Deficits in executive functioning and verbal abstraction were strong predictors of poor self-reported QOL. Our findings suggest that, along with mood stabilization, adequate cognitive functioning is desirable for achieving better QOL. These findings suggest that cognitive rehabilitation may be an important factor for restoring QOL to baseline levels among BD patients.
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