New Study Examines Screening Tool for Pediatric Bipolar

College in London theorized that self-reports and parent reports of symptomology would provide a more accurate picture of a child’s overall behavior. “This study uses an alternative approach to the question of youth BP starting at the level of individual symptoms that occur during an episode of elated mood,” said Goodman of his recent study. Goodman and his colleagues were concerned mostly with bipolar not otherwise specified (BPNOS), a condition that previous research has suggested eventually develops into BPI or BPII. “These findings suggested that BP-NOS–defined by having episode durations of less than 4 days—is important and may be on a spectrum with BP-I and BP-II,” said Goodman. “However, the particularly poor agreement between parent- and child-reported episodes and the fact that they did not increase in duration with advancing age did cast some doubt on the validity of BPNOS and whether it was on a continuum with BP-I and BP-II.”

Goodman screened over 5300 children using the Development and Well-Being Assessment (DAWBA) and the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). The evaluations consisted of both parent and child reports. Goodman found that the participants with elated mood were more likely to progress to BP. “By parent report, this group has a fourfold higher rate than those screening negative; by youth report the increase is twofold over those screening negative.” He said, “Moreover, a positive response to the screening question predicts impact over and above that attributable to other psychopathology, and this was true for both reporting sources.” The study also revealed significant controlled elevated moods that could be attributed to ADHD, impulsivity, depression, anxiety or other problems. Goodman added, “In conclusion, this study shows that episodic changes in mood occur frequently, and that meaningful symptom dimensions and latent classes can be identified during such episodes.”

Stringaris, Argyris, Daniel Stahl, Paramala Santosh, and Robert Goodman. “Dimensions and Latent Classes of Episodic Mania-Like Symptoms in Youth: An Empirical Enquiry.”Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 39.8 (2011): 925-37. Print.

© Copyright 2011 by By John Smith, therapist in Bellingham, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to

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  • Jenna


    November 21st, 2011 at 4:32 PM

    Just a quick question here: does anyone have any idea at what age bipolar episodes in children will typically emerge and someone would screen for the disorder?

  • Lewis


    November 22nd, 2011 at 8:35 AM

    Hello there,Jenna.There have been cases wherein kids less than even 10 years of age have had bipolar.Although it is difficult to point out an accurate age group,symptoms are not hard to identify and some knowledge about all that can help you identify it.

  • Iris


    November 22nd, 2011 at 5:02 PM

    Do you feel like parents then sometimes overreact and over report the incidences? I personally would have assumed that parental reporting could be a fairly accurate indicator that could give you tons of clues about a child’s behavior.

  • arnold


    November 23rd, 2011 at 8:05 AM

    a lot of pediatric problems either go unnoticed or parents are over-concerned about instances wherein there is no real disorder.

    but i believe over-reaction is better than a lack of noticing see,a parent may think there could be a disorder and seek medical help and will eventually find out there is nothing to worry about.but an absence of help at all when there is a disorder sounds terrible.

    whether the reporting is from a parent or the child himself,adequate measures need to be taken to fully study the child and ensure there is no problem or if there is,take the treatment course up!

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