Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Rehabilitation Counseling

First Advisor

Dr. Jerome Fischer

Second Advisor

Dr. Marie Simonsson

Third Advisor

Dr. Bruce Reed


Bipolar disorder (BD) is a highly prevalent and severe mental illness of significant public health importance. Characteristics of BD include dramatic shifts in mood, energy, and activity levels affecting a person's ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. These shifts in mood and energy levels are more severe than everyone's regular ups and downs (Rihmer & Kiss, 2002). Managing BD is complex; and social and occupational life disruptions are well-documented, including higher divorce rates, unemployment, and suicide (Marrag et al., 2015). Research has consistently shown individuals with BD have a higher mortality rate compared with the general population (Walker et al., 2015). In addition, BD remains markedly associated with poor clinical and functional outcomes and much stigma and discrimination. However, even though BD is a disabling and life-threatening illness, it can also be manageable.

For individuals with BD, clinical and personal recovery are vital in order to restore social and well-being functioning (Slade, 2009). Enhancing quality of life (QoL) is a fundamental for a better living. Having a better understanding of well-being and its determinants will enable current evidence-based interventions to be targeted and developed appropriately. Positive well-being and satisfaction with life are variables affecting the QoL of people with bipolar disorder. Psychological practices such as positive psychology (PP) has been building research to become an evidence-based practice within the positive well-being arena. Positive psychology practices emerged from a salutogenic framework, viewing health as positive states of human capacities and at an optimal human stage functioning (Keyes, 2014). Additional research in this area of study is necessary to understand better how and why some individuals with BD can thrive and live well while others do not.


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