Communication and decision-making in mental health: a systematic review focusing on Bipolar disorder

Alana Fisher*, Vijaya Manicavasagar, Felicity Kiln, Ilona Juraskova

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives To systematically review studies of communication and decision-making in mental health-based samples including BP patients. Methods Qualitative systematic review of studies using PsychINFO, MEDLINE, SCOPUS, CINAHL, and EMBASE (January 2000–March 2015). One author assessed study eligibility, verified by two co-authors. Data were independently extracted by two authors, and cross-checked by another co-author. Two independent raters assessed eligible studies using a validated quality appraisal. Results Of 519 articles retrieved, 13 studies were included (i.e., 10 quantitative/1 qualitative/1 mixed-methods). All were cross-sectional; twelve were rated good/strong quality (>70%). Four inter-related themes emerged: patient characteristics and patient preferences, quality of patient-clinician interactions, and influence of SDM/patient-centred approach on patient outcomes. Overall BP patients, like others, have unmet decision-making needs, and desire greater involvement. Clinician consultation behaviour influenced patient involvement; interpersonal aspects (e.g., empathy, listening well) fostered therapeutic relationships and positive patient outcomes, including: improved treatment adherence, patient satisfaction with care, and reduced suicidal ideation. Conclusions This review reveals a paucity of studies reporting bipolar-specific findings. To inform targeted BP interventions, greater elucidation of unmet decision-making needs is needed. Practice implications Eliciting patient preferences and developing a collaborative therapeutic alliance may be particularly important in BP, promoting improved patient outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1106–1120
Number of pages15
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • bipolar disorder
  • treatment
  • decision-making
  • communication
  • patient involvement
  • patient outcomes


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