Three studies on self-report scales to detect bipolar disorder

Christopher J. Miller, Sheri L. Johnson, Thomas R. Kwapil, Charles S. Carver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: This study investigated the usefulness of self-report scales for detecting bipolar disorder in several settings. Methods: Study 1 developed a short form of the Hypomanic Personality Scale (the HPS-6) based on clinic/community and undergraduate samples. Study 2 used this scale for recruiting participants with bipolar disorder from the community. Study 3 administered the full-length Hypomanic Personality Scale, the Mood Disorder Questionnaire, and a short form of the General Behavior Inventory (the GBI-15) to an undergraduate sample. Each study featured a reference standard diagnostic interview. Results: In Study 2, about half of those responding to the advertisement (based on the HPS-6 developed in Study 1) reported a history of at least one hypomanic episode on a telephone-based SCID. In Study 3, the most robust findings emerged for the GBI-15: about one-third of participants screening positive on that measure met criteria for bipolar disorder using the Structured Clinical Interview for the DSM-IV (SCID). Limitations: Despite large sample sizes and stratified sampling, this study was limited by a low number of participants with bipolar I disorder. Conclusions: These three studies produced mixed findings regarding the detection of bipolar disorder via self-report. The HPS-6 was reasonably successful in recruiting participants with a history of at least one manic or hypomanic episode into a study on bipolar disorder. The GBI-15 showed some promise as a screening tool in an undergraduate setting, but there is a need for more sensitive and specific scales. Discussion focuses on potential strategies for developing such scales.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)199-210
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Bipolar disorder
  • General Behavior Inventory
  • Hypomanic Personality Scale
  • Mania
  • Mood Disorder Questionnaire
  • Screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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