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This cluster study investigates the different possibilities that may have caused an increase in the diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder in children and adolescents, including comparison to diagnosis in other countries. The same criteria for diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder for adults are used for children and adolescents, which may be misdiagnosed due to other disorders having the same characteristics, such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). In the cluster study, current and past students’ files at an alternative school were analyzed to determine whether the diagnosis had increased within the setting. Main findings were that Bipolar Disorder did increase over the course of the past nine years that the school has been open. From 1999-2004 there were four students who had been diagnosis with Bipolar Disorder and from 2005-2008 there had been 12 students. The data was statistically significant with p<.05 (p=.034). There has also been a steady increase in the prescribing of medications for all disorders within the study. From 1999-2004 there were 36 students on medication and 23 who were not and from 2005- 2008 there were 49 students on medication and 12 who were not. The data was statistically significant with p<.05 (.016). In the explanation of the increase in the diagnosis over the past decade, the results were inconclusive. While some signs point to the pharmaceutical companies there was no direct correlation between the two and the different editions of the DSM proved also to be inconclusive.


Providence College











A project based on independent investigation, submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Social Work. Originally written for the Theory Practice Seminar, Providence College, 2008.

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