• bipolar disorder;
  • health-status measures;
  • ICF;
  • outcome assessment;
  • outcome research

Introduction:  Functioning is increasingly being taken into account when assessing the impact of bipolar disorder (BD) on the individual, as well as the effectiveness of treatments. With the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF), we can now rely on a globally agreed-upon framework and system for classifying the typical spectrum of problems in functioning, given the environmental context in which subjects live. ICF Core Sets are subgroups of ICF items selected to capture those aspects of functioning that are most likely to be affected by specific disorders. Within a given disorder, both Brief and Comprehensive Core Sets can be established to serve specific purposes.

Objective:  The aim of this paper is to outline the development process of the ICF Core Sets for BD.

Methods:  The final definition of ICF Core Sets for BD will be determined at an ICF Core-Sets Consensus Conference, which will integrate evidence from preliminary studies, namely (a) semi-structured interviews with people with BD in different countries, (b) a Delphi exercise with international experts participating and (c) a cross-sectional study.

Conclusion:  ICF Core Sets are being designed with the goal of providing useful standards for research, clinical practice and teaching. We believe that these ICF Core Sets for BD will stimulate research leading to improved understanding of functioning, disability and health in BD. Such research, we hope, will lead to interventions and accommodations to improve restoration and maintenance of functioning and minimise disability among people with BD throughout the world.