The CBCL predicts DSM bipolar disorder in children: a receiver operating characteristic curve analysis


  • The authors of this paper do not have any commercial associations that might pose a conflict of interest in connection with this manuscript.

Stephen V Faraone PhD, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, SUNY Upstate Medical University, 750 East Adams St, Syracuse, NY 13210, USA. Fax: (315) 464 3255;


Background:  No clear consensus has been reached yet on how best to characterize children who suffer from pediatric bipolar disorder (PBD). The CBCL-PBD profile on the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) has been consistently reported showing deviant findings on the Attention Problems, Aggressive Behavior, and Anxious-Depressed subscales.

Aim:  To examine the sensitivity and specificity of the proposed CBCL-PBD profile for determining DSM diagnosis of PBD.

Methods:  We applied receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis to data from 471 probands from two family studies of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and their 410 siblings.

Results:  The CBCL-PBD score demonstrated an area under the curve (AUC) of 0.97 for probands and 0.82 for siblings for current diagnosis of PBD, suggesting that the CBCL-PBD provided a highly efficient way of identifying subjects with a current diagnosis of PBD in this sample.

Conclusions:  These findings suggest that the CBCL-PBD may provide a highly efficient way of screening for childhood bipolar disorder.