Measuring circadian function in bipolar disorders: Empirical and conceptual review of physiological, actigraphic, and self‐report approaches
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BACKGROUND: Interest in biological clock pathways in bipolar disorders (BD) continues to grow, but there has yet to be an audit of circadian measurement tools for use in BD research and practice. PROCEDURE: The International Society for Bipolar Disorders Chronobiology Task Force conducted a critical integrative review of circadian methods that have real-world applicability. Consensus discussion led to the selection of three domains to review-melatonin assessment, actigraphy, and self-report. RESULTS: Measurement approaches used to quantify circadian function in BD are described in sufficient detail for researchers and clinicians to make pragmatic decisions about their use. A novel integration of the measurement literature is offered in the form of a provisional taxonomy distinguishing between circadian measures (the instruments and methods used to quantify circadian function, such as dim light melatonin onset) and circadian constructs (the biobehavioral processes to be measured, such as circadian phase). CONCLUSIONS: Circadian variables are an important target of measurement in clinical practice and biomarker research. To improve reproducibility and clinical application of circadian constructs, an informed systematic approach to measurement is required. We trust that this review will decrease ambiguity in the literature and support theory-based consideration of measurement options.
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