Future Directions for Understanding Adolescent Bipolar Spectrum Disorders: A Reward Hypersensitivity Perspective

Lauren B. Alloy*, Robin Nusslock

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


The idea that bipolar spectrum disorders (BSDs) are characterized by enhanced sensitivity to rewarding stimuli is at the core of the reward hypersensitivity model, one of the most prominent and well-supported theories of BSDs. In this article, we present the reward hypersensitivity model of BSDs, review evidence supporting it, discuss its relevance to explaining why BSDs typically begin and consolidate during the period of adolescence, and consider three major unresolved issues for this model that provide important directions for future research. Finally, we present integrations of the reward hypersensitivity model with circadian rhythm and immune system models that should provide greater understanding of the mechanisms involved in BSDs, and then suggest additional directions for future research deriving from these integrated models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)669-683
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 4 2019


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology

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