The Dutch Bipolar Offspring Study: Cognitive Development and Psychopathology

  • Wanda M. TempelaarEmail author
  • Esther Mesman
  • Elemi J. Breetvelt
  • Manon H. J. Hillegers


Various aspects of the relationship between cognitive impairment and bipolar disorder are not clear yet. This study examines cognitive and educational functioning prospectively in offspring at familial risk for bipolar disorder, in order to improve our understanding of the association between cognitive functioning and psychopathology. Bipolar offspring (N = 92) from the prospective Dutch bipolar offspring study were evaluated at adolescence and adulthood for IQ estimate, educational achievement and development of any psychiatric disorder. The main outcome was IQ estimate after 12 years of follow-up (offspring mean age 28 years). Generalized estimating equation (GEE) analyses showed that any lifetime DSM-IV axis I diagnosis was related to a lower cognitive outcome at adulthood as compared to unaffected bipolar offspring. No specific association was found for type of diagnosis. Early onset psychopathology (diagnosis at or before age 15 years) was significantly related to lower IQ estimate at adulthood, indicating a sensitive period for neurocognitive development.


Bipolar offspring Cognitive development Psychopathology 



We are grateful to the participants and family members who took part in this study.


The funding of the present work was provided by the following sources: the latest assessment of this study was supported by grant 22963 from the 7FP of the European Commission and 9120818 from the Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development (Zon-Mw). The Stanley Medical Research Institute and the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) supported the first three assessments of this study.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Manon H.J. Hillegers has served in the advisory board of Benecke and has received grants from the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development, NARSAD and the European Union.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants and parents included in the study.

Supplementary material

10802_2019_532_MOESM1_ESM.docx (24 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 24 kb)


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Slaight Family Centre for Youth in TransitionCentre for Addiction and Mental HealthTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  3. 3.Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and PsychologyErasmus University Medical Center-Sophia Children’s HospitalRotterdamthe Netherlands
  4. 4.Department of PsychiatryHospital for Sick ChildrenTorontoCanada

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