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J Affect Disord. 2004 Dec;83(2-3):207-14.

Absence of gender differences in pediatric bipolar disorder: findings from a large sample of referred youth.

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  • 1Clinical and Research Program in Pediatric Psychopharmacology of the Child Psychiatry Service, Massachusetts General Hospital, Pediatric Psychopharmacology Unit (WACC 725), 15 Parkman Street, Boston, MA 02114, USA.



Because little is known about gender differences in pediatric bipolar disorder, we evaluated whether gender moderates the expression of pediatric bipolar disorder in a large clinical sample.


Subjects were consecutively referred youth aged 18 years or less who met full criteria for DSM-III-R bipolar disorder (BPD) (females, n=74; BD males, n=224). All subjects were assessed with a structured diagnostic interview and measures of psychosocial and family functioning.


Most of the bipolar subjects (91% of males, 70% of females) also had ADHD. Bipolar disorder was equally prevalent in both genders. Among females and males, severe irritability (83% and 80%, respectively), mixed presentation (87% and 84%, respectively), chronic course (84% and 77%, respectively) and prepubertal onset (78% and 93%, respectively) predominated the clinical picture. We found no meaningful differences between genders in the number of BPD symptoms, type of treatment for BPD (counseling, medication, hospitalization), severity of educational deficits, severity of family and interpersonal functioning or patterns of psychiatric comorbidity.


Because gender does not moderate the clinical expression of pediatric bipolar disorder, our data does not suggest that gender specific criteria for the disorder are warranted.

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