The CBCL dysregulated profile: an indicator of pediatric bipolar disorder or of psychopathology severity?

J Affect Disord. 2014 Feb;155:299-302. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2013.10.033. Epub 2013 Oct 29.


Background: To evaluate whether the Child Behavior Checklist Dysregulated Profile (CBCL-DP) can be used as an effective predictor of psychopathological severity as indicated by suicidality and comorbidities, as well as a predictor of pediatric bipolar disorder (PBD).

Method: CBCL-DP scores for 397 youths seeking treatment for mood disorders were calculated by summing the t-scores of the Anxious/Depressed, Aggressive Behaviors, and Attention Problems subscales such that a clinical cut-off of 210 was used to indicate the presence of a dysregulated profile. Suicidality and an increased number of diagnoses were used as markers of illness severity.

Results: Those with a dysregulated profile presented more severe suicidal ideation when compared to those without the profile. They also had a significantly larger number of Axis I diagnoses. Groups did not differ in the amount of individuals diagnosed with PBD.

Limitations: Suicidal ideation was assessed by a third-party informant and not from the youths themselves. No other forms of suicidal behavior such as self-harm or suicide attempt were measured. Also there may not be complete convergence between parental reports on behavior and youth reports, which might have affected the results.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that the CBCL-DP is an effective indicator of psychopathological severity through its association with more comorbidities and more severe suicidality. Earlier detection of psychopathological severity through an initial screening tool could aid clinicians in planning treatment and providing quicker and more structured care based on the client's needs.

Keywords: Child Behavior Checklist; Comorbidity; Dysregulated profile; Pediatric bipolar disorder; Severity; Suicidal ideation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Bipolar Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Bipolar Disorder / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Psychopathology
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Severity of Illness Index*
  • Suicide / psychology