, Volume 39, Issue 7, pp 925-937,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 31 May 2011

Dimensions and Latent Classes of Episodic Mania-Like Symptoms in Youth: An Empirical Enquiry


The dramatic increase in diagnostic rates of bipolar disorder in children and adolescents in the USA has led to an intense interest in the phenomenology of the disorder. Here we present data from a newly-developed instrument to assess episodic mania-like symptoms in youth in a large population-based sample (N = 5326) using parent- and self-report. We found that a substantial proportion of children screened positive for having episodes of “going high” and were at an increased risk for morbidity and impairment. Using factor analysis, we identified that episodic mania-like symptoms comprised two dimensions: An under-controlled dimension that was associated with significant impairment, and a low-risk exuberant dimension. Using latent class analysis, we identified a small group of children scoring high on a range of manic symptoms and suffering from severe psychosocial impairment and morbidity. Our results carry implications for the nosology and psychosocial impairment associated with episodic mood changes in young people.