April Walter, PsyD, is a 2009 graduate of the PsyD Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University, Seattle.

Dissertation Committee

  • Mary Wieneke, Ph. D. (Committee Co-Chair)
  • Benny Martin, Ph.D. (Committee Co-Chair)
  • Molly Reid, Ph.D. (Other)


pediatric, bipolar disorder, children, adolescents

Document Type


Publication Date



A meta-analysis approach was employed to research the symptomatology andcomorbidity of pediatric bipolar disorder (PBD). This approach was chosen due to the wide range of previously published research results and the limited size of the populations investigated. Database searches of peer-reviewed empirical research identified 861 journal articles published on the topic of pediatric bipolar disorder over the last 49 years. Fifty-four articles, with a total subject pool of 10,318, met specific inclusion criteria, which included being a quantitative study using standardized mean difference, correlation coefficient, or odds-ratio statistics. Fifteen separate meta-analyses were used to determine specificity regarding: differences reported in the literature between pediatric and adult BPD, age of onset of PBD, comorbidity of cardinal symptoms of mania (euphoria, grandiosity, irritability), prevalence of diagnostic type (PBD-I, PBD-II, PBD-NOS), cycling type (chronic, rapid, episodic), and comorbidity with other often overlapping disorders (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, oppositional defiant disorder and conduct disorder, major depression, and autism spectrum disorders. All but three of the meta-analyses (chronic cycling, ODD, and MD comorbidity) resulted in significant findings. All of the PBD diagnoses and most of the comorbid disorders studied were highly correlated with much symptom overlap. Further research is needed to more accurately determine what constitutes pediatric bipolar disorder.