Objective The concept of resilience is relevant in understanding the heterogeneous outcomes noted in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. However, clinical and biological correlates of resilience in these populations have rarely been investigated. We aimed to identify key correlates of subjective resilience in such patients using comprehensive assessments and to explore associations between resilience levels and peripheral biomarkers. Method 180 subjects with DSM-IV schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and healthy controls (60 per group) were included. Demographic and clinical variables were assessed by means of interview and various psychometric scales. Furthermore, blood and saliva samples were obtained for the assessment of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, adrenocorticotropic hormone, cortisol, high sensitivity C-reactive protein, and alpha-amylase levels. Cross-sectional associations with resilience, as assessed by the 25-item Resilience Scale were sought. Results Resilience Scale total scores were significantly higher in healthy individuals (130.1, 95% confidence intervals (CI): 124.8–135.4) compared to subjects with schizophrenia (109.9, 95% CI: 104.6–115.2, p < 0.001) and bipolar disorder (119.0, 95% CI: 113.8–124.3, p = 0.012), while the difference between patient groups was non-significant (p = 0.055). Self-esteem, spirituality, quality of life, and hopelessness were correlated with resilience in all three groups. In addition, internalized stigma and depression were relevant factors in the schizophrenia and bipolar disorder group, respectively. Correlations between resilience levels and peripheral biomarkers did not reach significance. Conclusion Although causal relationships must be confirmed in prospective studies, our results have implications in developing psychological interventions to enhance resilience in patients with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. The biological correlates of resilience in these populations warrant further investigations.
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