Publication Date

Spring 2017

Degree Type

Doctoral Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)



First Advisor

Ruth Rosenblum

Second Advisor

Michael Terry


Pediatric bipolar disorder, Mental health assessment, Pediatric psychiatry, Clinical tool development


Background: Pediatric bipolar disorder is a significant mental illness, characterized by changes in mood that can be abrupt, unpredictable, and extreme. The rate of diagnosis of this disorder has been increasing in recent decades. Purpose: A thorough review of existing literature was completed to inform practice. Additionally, a survey of clinician assessment practices was completed. Combining the information learned from the literature review, and the data from the clinician survey, a clinical tool has been created. This tool provides a thorough, multi-phasic process for the assessment and diagnosis of pediatric bipolar disorder. Method: Mental health clinicians were surveyed; respondents were obtained via snowball sampling. Chi square analysis was completed to determine the relationships between the assessment practices used and the level of licensure of the clinician, the length of time the clinician had been in practice, and the age range treated by the clinician. Results: No statistically significant results were identified from the Chi Square analyses. Inconsistency in the assessment strategies was noted, however. Implications/Conclusions: Further clinician data should be obtained due to the small sample size (n=16). The resulting tool has been reviewed by a subject matter expert and will be validated in practice before diffusion.


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