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The Hypomania Checklist (HCL) - Systematic review of its properties to screen for bipolar disorders

Meyer, Thomas D.; Schrader, Julia; Ridley, Matthew; Lex, Claudia


Thomas D. Meyer

Julia Schrader

Claudia Lex


Objective Bipolar disorders (BDs) are often not recognised with potentially drastic consequences for the individuals and their families. In clinical practice self-reports can be used to screen to enhance recognition. We therefore present a systematic review of the screening properties for the Hypomania Checklist (HCL-32). Methods A systematic literature search was conducted to identify all relevant studies looking at the screening properties of the HCL-32 in adults. Results Out of 196 papers 21 papers reported data on 22 independent samples. We narratively reviewed these studies. Weighted estimated Sensitivity was 80% regardless of whether a BD diagnosis was compared to unipolar depression or any other non-bipolar diagnosis. Specificity indicated that the HCL-32 was better when comparing BD to unipolar depression (65.3%) than to any other diagnostic category (57.3%). Fewer studies provided estimates for predictive powers, leading to less reliable overall estimates for these indicators. Conclusions Despite some limitations, using the HCL-32 as a first screening in patients seeking help for depression can be recommended, but should never be used on its own for diagnosing. Future research should examine whether screening properties can be improved by developing an algorithm incorporating the negative consequences reported for different areas in the HCL-32. © 2014 Elsevier Inc.


Meyer, T. D., Schrader, J., Ridley, M., & Lex, C. (2014). The Hypomania Checklist (HCL) - Systematic review of its properties to screen for bipolar disorders. Comprehensive Psychiatry, 55(5), 1310-1321.

Journal Article Type Review
Acceptance Date Mar 21, 2014
Online Publication Date Mar 21, 2014
Publication Date Jan 1, 2014
Deposit Date Jan 21, 2019
Journal Comprehensive Psychiatry
Print ISSN 0010-440X
Electronic ISSN 1532-8384
Publisher WB Saunders
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 55
Issue 5
Pages 1310-1321
Public URL
Publisher URL