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Keywords:

  • age;
  • bipolar;
  • geriatric;
  • mania;
  • psychopathology;
  • rating

Objectives:  Clinicians have suggested that manic psychopathology in adulthood changes with advanced age. We used rating scale evaluations of manic psychopathology in adult patients with bipolar (BP) disorder to test whether older age is associated with scores on items related to excesses of behaviors: i.e., Sexual Interest, Increased Activity-Energy, Speech – Rate and Amount, and Disruptive–Aggressive Behavior.

Methods:  The association of Young Mania Rating Scale item scores with current age was studied in symptomatic inpatients meeting DSM-IV criteria for BP disorder, manic.

Results:  The sample consisted of 149 patients ranging in age from 18 to 89 years; 48 of these were male. Age was not associated with differences in overall severity reflected in total score. Age was associated with lower scores on the Sexual Interest item (r = − 0.26, p < 0.001). A trend for higher scores with age on Speech – Rate and Amount (r = 0.19, p < 0.02) did not meet criteria for significance. Increased Activity-Energy, Disruptive–Aggressive Behavior and other item scores were not associated with age. In an exploratory analysis, age and Sexual Interest and Speech item scores were associated in female patients but not in male patients.

Conclusions:  These findings suggest that age minimally influences manic psychopathology in patients with BP disorder. The modest correlation between age and Sexual Interest item scores warrants further investigation and the trend for an association between age and Speech – Rate and Amount can be examined in future studies. Possible gender differences in the associations between age and these item scores also invite future study.