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The Mood Disorder Questionnaire improves recognition of bipolar disorder in psychiatric care

Erkki Isometsä1*, Kirsi Suominen12, Outi Mantere2, Hanna Valtonen2, Sami Leppämäki12, Marita Pippingsköld2 and Petri Arvilommi2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Mental Health and Alcohol Research, National Public Health Institute, Helsinki, Finland

2 Department of Psychiatry, Jorvi Hospital, Helsinki University Central Hospital, Espoo, Finland

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BMC Psychiatry 2003, 3:8  doi:10.1186/1471-244X-3-8

Published: 10 July 2003



We investigated our translation of The Mood Disorder Questionnaire (MDQ) as a screening instrument for bipolar disorder in a psychiatric setting in Finland.


In a pilot study for the Jorvi Bipolar Study (JoBS), 109 consecutive non-schizophrenic psychiatric out- and inpatients in Espoo, Finland, were screened for bipolar disorder using the Finnish translation of the MDQ, and 38 of them diagnostically interviewed with the SCID.


Forty subjects (37%) were positive in the MDQ screen. In the SCID interview, twenty patients were found to suffer from bipolar disorder, of whom seven (70%) of ten patients with bipolar I but only two (20%) of ten with bipolar II disorder had been previously clinically correctly diagnosed. The translated MDQ was found internally consistent (alpha 0.79) and a feasible screening tool.


Bipolar disorder, particularly type II, remains commonly unrecognized in psychiatric settings. The Mood Disorder Questionnaire is a feasible screen for bipolar disorder, which could well be integrated into psychiatric routine practice.