Objective Accumulating evidence suggests cross-national differences in adults with bipolar disorder (BD), but also in the susceptibility of their offspring (bipolar offspring). This study aims to explore and clarify cross-national variation in the prevalence of categorical and dimensional psychopathology between bipolar offspring in the US and The Netherlands.
Methods We compared levels of psychopathology in offspring of the Pittsburgh Bipolar Offspring Study (n=224) and the Dutch Bipolar Offspring Study (n=136) (age 10–18). Categorical psychopathology was ascertained through interviews using the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia for School Age Children (K-SADS-PL), dimensional psychopathology by parental reports using the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL).
Results Higher rates of categorical psychopathology were observed in the US versus the Dutch samples (66% versus 44%). We found no differences in the overall prevalence of mood disorders, including BD-I or -II, but more comorbidity in mood disorders in US versus Dutch offspring (80% versus 34%). The strongest predictors of categorical psychopathology were maternal BD (OR: 1.72, p<.05), older age of the offspring (OR: 1.19, p<.05), and country of origin (US; OR: 2.17, p<.001). Regarding comorbidity, only country of origin (OR: 7.84, p<.001) was a significant predictor. In general, we found no differences in dimensional psychopathology based on CBCL reports. Limitations Preliminary measure of inter-site reliability.
Conclusions We found cross-national differences in prevalence of categorical diagnoses of non-mood disorders in bipolar offspring, but not in mood disorder diagnoses nor in parent-reported dimensional psychopathology. Cross-national variation was only partially explained by between-sample differences. Cultural and methodological explanations for these findings warrant further study.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Bipolar disorder, Bipolar offspring, Child Behavior Checklist, Cross-national, High risk, Mood disorder
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2016.06.011, hdl.handle.net/1765/97070
Journal Journal of Affective Disorders
Mesman, E, Birmaher, B.B. (Boris B.), Goldstein, B.I. (Benjamin I.), Goldstein, T. (Tina), Derks, E.M, de Vleeschouwer, L.H.M, … Hillegers, M.H.J. (2016). Categorical and dimensional psychopathology in Dutch and US offspring of parents with bipolar disorder: A preliminary cross-national comparison. Journal of Affective Disorders, 205, 95–102. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2016.06.011