Diagnostic and measurement issues in the assessment of pediatric bipolar disorder: implications for understanding mood disorder across the life cycle

Dev Psychopathol. Fall 2006;18(4):989-1021. doi: 10.1017/S0954579406060494.


The goal of this paper is to review assessment research of bipolar disorder in children and adolescents. The review addresses numerous themes: the benefits and costs of involving clinical judgment in the diagnostic process, particularly with regard to diagnosis and mood severity ratings; the validity of parent, teacher, and youth self-report of manic symptoms; how much cross-situational consistency is typically shown in mood and behavior; the extent to which a parent's mental health status influences their report of child behavior; how different measures compare in terms of detecting bipolar disorder, the challenges in comparing the performance of measures across research groups, and the leading candidates for research or clinical use; evidence-based strategies for interpreting measures as diagnostic aids; how test performance changes when a test is used in a new setting and what implications this has for research samples as well as clinical practice; the role of family history of mood disorder within an assessment framework; and the implications of assessment research for the understanding of phenomenology of bipolar disorder from a developmental framework.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Affect
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Bipolar Disorder / diagnosis
  • Bipolar Disorder / physiopathology*
  • Bipolar Disorder / psychology*
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Judgment
  • Medical History Taking