Evening chronotype as a discrete clinical subphenotype in bipolar disorder

Francisco Romo-Nava, Thomas J. Blom, Alfredo B. Cuellar-Barboza, Stacey J. Winham, Colin L. Colby, Nicolas A. Nunez, Joanna M. Biernacka, Mark A. Frye, Susan L. McElroy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Objective: Our aim was to investigate evening chronotype, a proxy marker of circadian system dysfunction, as a clinical subphenotype in bipolar disorder (BD). Methods: In this cross-sectional study, 773 BD participants and 146 control subjects were evaluated using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV and a set of questionnaires. Chronotype was determined using item-5 from the reduced Morningness-Eveningness Questionnaire. Univariate analyses and regression models were used to compare evening and non-evening chronotype in BD and chronotype association with clinical variables. Results: Overall, 205 (27%) of BD patients reported an evening chronotype. Evening chronotype was higher in a matched sub-sample of BD patients (n = 150) than in controls (24% and 5% respectively, OR=5.4, p<0.01). Compared to those with non-evening chronotypes, BD patients with an evening chronotype were younger, had an earlier age of onset of BD, and had more prior depressive and manic episodes, higher rates of rapid cycling, past suicide attempts, more comorbid anxiety and substance use disorders. Multivariate regression showed age, prior suicide attempts, and co-occurring substance use disorder were associated with evening chronotype (OR range of 0.97 to1.59). Hypertension, migraine, asthma, and obstructive sleep apnea were significantly associated with evening chronotype (OR range of 1.56 to 2.0). Limitation: Limitations include a cross-sectional study design that precludes establishing causality. Analyses did not control for medication use. Younger participant age may prevent evaluation of associations with late-life illnesses. Conclusions: Evening chronotype may be a discrete clinical subphenotype in BD and circadian dysfunction a shared pathophysiological mechanism between psychopathology and medical morbidity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)556-562
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020


  • Bipolar disorder
  • Chronotype
  • Circadian
  • Comorbidity
  • Hypertension
  • Suicide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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