Date of Submission


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



Department Chair

Robert A DiTomasso, PhD, ABPP, Chair, Department of Psychology

First Advisor

Susan Panichelli Mindel, PhD, Chairperson

Second Advisor

Bruce S Zahn, EdD, ABPP

Third Advisor

Jennifer Mautone, PhD


The purpose of this study was to provide a better understanding of the attachment between a mother diagnosed with bipolar disorder and her child and the subsequent social competence of the child. A descriptive survey design was chosen due to the lack of existent literature in this area and the need to identify problematic areas of attachment and social competence in this identified population. A sample of ten mothers diagnosed with bipolar disorder with at least one school-aged child (between kindergarten and sixth grades), to whom the mother is the primary caregiver, participated in this study. Each participant was given two questionnaires to complete: one assessing attachment between the mother and child and one assessing social competence of the child. Recurrent themes of attachment and social competence were identified based on the participants’ responses. The findings of this study indicate areas of impairment in the attachment and social competence of children of mothers with bipolar disorder. These findings will add to the existent literature in this area and provide a basis for future studies and areas of possible therapeutic mediation.

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