Sensitivity and specificity of a new bipolar spectrum diagnostic scale

J Affect Disord. 2005 Feb;84(2-3):273-7. doi: 10.1016/S0165-0327(03)00196-4.


Objective: To assess the sensitivity and specificity of a self-report questionnaire for bipolar disorder, the Bipolar Spectrum Diagnostic Scale (BSDS).

Methods: The BSDS was administered to 68 consecutive patients with bipolar illness and 27 consecutive patients with unipolar major depressive disorder. Created by Ronald Pies, it consists of a descriptive story that captures subtle features of bipolar illness, to which patients may assent on a sentence-by-sentence basis. BSDS scores were compared to clinicians' DSM-IV-based diagnoses.

Results: Sensitivity of the BSDS was 0.76, approximately equal in bipolar I and II/NOS subjects (0.75 and 0.79, respectively). The BSDS identified 85% of unipolar-depressed patients as not having bipolar spectrum illness. A shift in the threshold of the BSDS resulted in a large increase in specificity (from 0.85 to 0.93), without a significant loss of sensitivity.

Conclusions: The BSDS was highly sensitive and specific for bipolar spectrum illness, especially with the amended threshold for positive diagnosis.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Awareness
  • Bipolar Disorder / classification
  • Bipolar Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Bipolar Disorder / psychology
  • Community Mental Health Centers
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / classification
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / psychology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Humans
  • Personality Assessment / statistics & numerical data
  • Personality Inventory / statistics & numerical data*
  • Psychometrics / statistics & numerical data
  • Sensitivity and Specificity