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Validation of the Mood Disorder Questionnaire for Bipolar Disorders in Adolescents

J Clin Psychiatry 2006;67(5):827-830

Objective: The study was designed to determine the validity of the Mood Disorder Questionnaire - Adolescent Version (MDQ-A) as a screening instrument for bipolar disorders (I, II, not otherwise specified, and cyclothymia) in an adolescent outpatient psychiatric population.

Method: 104 adolescents and their parents completed the MDQ-A. Three versions of the MDQ-A were compared: (1) self report of symptoms by adolescent, (2) attributional report-how the adolescent believed teachers or friends would report his/her symptoms, and (3) parent report of adolescent's symptoms. DSM-IV diagnosis was made based upon the clinician-administered Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia for School-Age Children-Present and Lifetime Version (K-SADS-PL), a semistructured diagnostic interview. MDQ-A items were summed, yielding a score for each adolescent ranging from 0 to 13 on each of the 3 MDQ - A versions. Each possible scoring threshold, in combination with co-occurrence of symptoms and behaviors and with moderate to serious problems caused by symptoms, was crossed with the results of the K-SADS-PL diagnostic interview to assess sensitivity and specificity. The study was conducted from April 2002 to September 2003.

Results: A score of 5 or more items on the parent version yielded a sensitivity of 0.72 and specificity of 0.81, which were superior to self and attributional versions.

Conclusions: The MDQ-A completed by parents about their adolescents' symptoms may be a useful screening instrument for bipolar disorders in an adolescent psychiatric outpatient population.