Screening for bipolar disorder in adolescents with the Mood Disorder Questionnaire – Adolescent version (MDQ-A) and the Child Bipolar Questionnaire (CBQ)


Corresponding author: Dr Jean-Michel Aubry, Department of Mental Health and Psychiatry, Bipolar Program, Geneva University Hospitals, 8, rue du 31 Décembre, 1207 Geneva, Switzerland. Email:



Screening instruments for bipolar disorders (BDs) in children and adolescents have been developed recently. The present study examined performances of the French versions of the Mood Disorder Questionnaire – Adolescent version (MDQ-A) and Child Bipolar Questionnaire (CBQ) in a sample of in- and outpatients.


Seventy-six adolescents (age 13–18) and parents first completed the MDQ-A (adolescent and parent versions) and CBQ screening instruments. About 3 weeks later, they had a diagnostic interview with the Kiddie-Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia – Present and Lifetime (K-SADS-PL), and the adolescent MDQ-A self-report was completed a second time.


Eight of 76 patients (10.5%) met K-SADS-PL diagnostic criteria for BD. Test–retest reliability of the adolescent MDQ-A self-report was moderate (kappa = 0.66), whereas agreement between adolescent and parent reports was poor (kappa = 0.07). Sensitivity and specificity of the MDQ-A with respect to K-SADS-PL were 75.0% and 57.4% for the adolescent version, and 87.5% and 63.2% for the parent version. Corresponding figures were 50.0% and 73.5% for the CBQ. All three screening instruments had low positive predictive values (17.1% for the MDQ-A adolescent version; 21.9% for the MDQ-A parent version; 18.2% for the CBQ), whereas negative predictive values were higher than 90%.


The present study points to modest performances of the MDQ-A and CBQ to detect BDs in adolescents, with diagnostic criteria for BD being unmet for a majority of patients who screened positive.