Does the Child Behavior Checklist Juvenile Bipolar Disorder Phenotype Identify Bipolar Disorder?

Heather E. Volk, Richard D. Todd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: A profile of Child Behavior Checklist(CBCL) T-scores ≥70 on the attention problems, aggression, and anxious/depressed subscales has been proposed to identify juvenile bipolar disorder(JBD). We tested this hypothesis in a population-based sample. Methods: Data for this analysis come from a birth-records-based twin sample having semi-structured interview and CBCL data (N = 1,346). We compared prevalence of DSM-IV psychiatric disorders and suicidal behaviors in CBCL-JBD and non-CBCL-JBD subjects. Twin modeling assessed genetic and environmental contributions to CBCL-JBD. Associations with DRD4 and DAT1 were examined using chi-square tests. Results: The prevalence of CBCL-JBD was 2.5%. No subjects with CBCL-JBD met criteria for bipolar or other mood disorders. CBCL-JBD subjects had more oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), conduct disorder(CD), and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder(ADHD). The CBCL-JBD profile was uncommon in these disorders. CBCL-JBD subjects more frequently endorsed suicidal behaviors. The CBCL-JBD profile was heritable and associated with the number of DAT1 9-repeat 3' untranslated region alleles. Conclusions: The CBCL-JBD phenotype does not correspond with a semi-structured interview assessment of JBD. ADHD, CD, and ODD are common in children with CBCL-JBD but do not account for the profile. Increased suicidal behaviors indicate substantial impairment in CBCL-JBD subjects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-120
Number of pages6
JournalBiological psychiatry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 15 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL)
  • comorbidity
  • genetic
  • juvenile bipolar disorder
  • suicide
  • twin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry


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