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Mood Disorder Questionnaire (MDQ)

The MDQ is a brief, self-rated questionnaire that can be used to screen patients at risk for bipolar disorder.
Description: The MDQ is a brief, self-rated questionnaire that can be used to screen patients at risk for bipolar disorder.
Disease States: Bipolar disorder
Validated Uses: Screening
Populations: Adult
Administration Method: Self-report
Time to administer: < 5 minutes
Commonly used in: Clinical Practice
Detailed Description: The MDQ is a screening instrument for bipolar disorder that can be administered quickly and easily in primary care settings.2,3 The MDQ is comprised of 13 symptom-specific questions and two additional items assessing co-occurrence of symptoms and functional impairment.1,3 If a patient has a positive screening on the MDQ, the healthcare provider should initiate a comprehensive medical evaluation for bipolar disorder.2,3

A positive screen requires the following criteria be met1,3:

  • “YES” to 7 or more of the 13 items in Question 1; AND
  • “YES” to Question 2; AND
  • “Moderate Problem” or “Serious Problem” to Question 3
Scale Validity: Sensitivity and specificity of the MDQ depends on the population examined. In an outpatient clinic targeting a mood disorder population, the MDQ demonstrated 73% sensitivity and 90% specificity.1,3 In the general population, the MDQ demonstrated 28% sensitivity and 97% specificity.3
Alternative Versions: The MDQ has an adolescent version called the MDQ-A.6 The MDQ-A has both self-report and parent-report versions, with the parent-report version reportedly more useful in detecting possible bipolar disorder.6 The parent-report version (P-MDQ) can also be used in younger pediatric populations.7
Cited Limitations: The MDQ is best at screening for bipolar I disorder (depression and mania) and is not as sensitive to bipolar II disorder (depression and hypomania) or other forms of bipolar disorder (bipolar disorder not otherwise specified).8


Supporting references for the filters are as follows:
Disease State: Bipolar disorder1-3; Validated Uses: Screening1-4; Populations: Adult1,5; Administration Method: Self-report1-3; Time to administer: < 5 minutes3,5; Commonly used in: Clinical Practice1-3


  1. Hirschfeld, RM et al. Am J Psychiatry. 2000;157(11):1873-1875.
  2. Hirschfeld, RM. Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry. 2002;4(1):9-11.
  3. STABLE National Coordination Council. Standards for bipolar excellence resource toolkit. 2015.
  4. Rush, AJ et al. Handbook of Psychiatric Measures.  (American Psychiatric Publishing, Inc., 2008).
  5. Williams, N. Occup Med (Lond). 2017;67(2):165-166.9.
  6. Wagner, KD et al. J Clin Psychiatry. 2006;67(5):827-830.
  7. Youngstrom, E et al. Bipolar Disord. 2005;7(6):507-517.
  8. Miller, C. Journal of Affective Disorders. 2004;81(2):167-171.

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