Bipolar vs Unipolar – Resources

Bipolar Screening Tools

  • The Mood Disorder Questionnaire was one of the first tools (2002, HIrschfield) designed to screen for bipolar disorder in those currently depressed.
  • The Sydney Bipolar Screener (SBS) is a brief, self-report questionnaire that assesses for symptoms of mania and hypomania, which are the two main mood states that characterize bipolar disorder. It is a valuable tool for identifying and distinguishing bipolar from unipolar disorder. To take the self-report questionnaire you may go to this link: Sydney Bipolar Screener.
  • The Rapid Mood Screener (RMS) is another tool designed to distinguish bipolar and unipolar depression.
    • The RMS was developed using a targeted literature review and cognitive debriefing interviews with people with self-reported bipolar I disorder or MDD. An observational study was then conducted to evaluate the predictive validity of the RMS. Participants with clinically confirmed bipolar I or MDD diagnoses completed the 10-item draft RMS and other questionnaires. Data were analyzed to identify the smallest possible subset of items with the best sensitivity and specificity.
    • The final RMS consists of 6 items. When 4 or more items are endorsed, the RMS has a sensitivity of 0.88 and a specificity of 0.80. These properties are better than those of the Mood Disorder Questionnaire, which has 15 items.


Hirschfeld RM. The Mood Disorder Questionnaire: A Simple, Patient-Rated Screening Instrument for Bipolar Disorder. Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry. 2002 Feb;4(1):9-11. doi: 10.4088/pcc.v04n0104. PMID: 15014728; PMCID: PMC314375.

Roger S. McIntyre, Mehul D. Patel, Prakash S. Masand, Amanda Harrington, Patrick Gillard, Susan L. McElroy, Kate Sullivan, C. Brendan Montano, T. Michelle Brown, Lauren Nelson & Rakesh Jain (2021) The Rapid Mood Screener (RMS): a novel and pragmatic screener for bipolar I disorder, Current Medical Research and Opinion, 37:1, 135-144, DOI: 10.1080/03007995.2020.1860358