Objective: While concordance between mother and child report continues to be the gold standard in the assessment of pediatric bipolar disorder, uncertainty develops when a mother’s report is not endorsed by the youth. To this end we compared discordant (mother positive and youth negative) and concordant (mother and youth positive) cases.
Methods: Subjects were 98 adolescents (12–19 years of age) derived from family studies of bipolar disorder in youth who had both self-reported and mother-reported assessments. Comparisons were made between discordant (n = 35) and concordant (n = 59) cases on a wide range of clinical correlates.
Results: Mothers in both groups reported similar rates of symptoms of mania and depression. Within the concordant group, mothers and youth reported similar rates of symptoms of mania. There were no differences between the concordant and discordant groups in onset, duration, or impairment of mania, rates of psychiatric hospitalization, cognitive variables, or rates of disorders in family members.
Conclusions: The similarities between discordant and concordant reports in symptomatology of mania and depression, rates of comorbidities, treatment needs, and other clinical correlates suggest that a mother-based diagnosis of mania should not be discounted in discrepant cases in which the youth fails to endorse the diagnosis.