Evidence-Based Strategies Improve Assessment of Pediatric Bipolar Disorder by Community Practitioners

Melissa M. Jenkins, Eric A. Youngstrom*, Jason J. Washburn, Jennifer Kogos Youngstrom

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


The misdiagnosis of pediatric bipolar disorder (PBD) has become a major public health concern. Would available evidence-based assessment (EBA) strategies help improve diagnostic accuracy and are clinicians willing to consider these strategies in practice? The purpose of the present study was to document the extent to which using an EBA decision tool-a probability nomogram-improves the interpretation of family history and test data by clinicians and to examine the acceptability of the nomogram technique to clinicians. Over 600 clinicians across the U.S. and Canada attending continuing education seminars were trained to use the nomogram. Participants estimated the probability that a youth in a clinical vignette had bipolar disorder, first using clinical judgment and then using the nomogram. Brief training of clinicians (less than 30 minutes) in using the nomogram for assessing PBD improved diagnostic accuracy, consistency, and agreement. The majority of clinicians endorsed using the nomogram in practice. EBA decision aids, such as the nomogram, may lead to a significant decrease in overdiagnosis and help clinicians detect true cases of PBD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-129
Number of pages9
JournalProfessional Psychology: Research and Practice
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2011


  • Evidence-based assessment
  • Pediatric bipolar disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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