Hypomanic Symptoms in Female Undergraduate Students Diagnosed with Unipolar Depression Based on Scores on the Hypomania Checklist

Clinical Practice & Epidemiology in Mental Health 18 December 2009 RESEARCH ARTICLE DOI: 10.2174/1745017900905010022



A number of studies have documented high levels of hypomanic symptoms in those diagnosed with depression, suggesting a potential misdiagnosis of bipolar disorder as unipolar depression. Research suggests that undergraduate students have high levels of depression, but whether such misdiagnosis occurs in this population has not been examined. The aim of this study was therefore to examine levels of hypomania in undergraduate students reporting diagnosed depression.


An international sample of undergraduate students completed the 32-item Hypomania Checklist (HCL-32). A cohort was analysed for this study, consisting of female undergraduate students reporting a formal diagnosis of depression (n=28).


Participants scored high on the HCL-32, with a mean total score of 19.9 (SD=5.4) out of 32. Overall, 85.7% (n=24) scored equal to or above the original cut off point of 14 suggested for bipolar II disorder.


Two possible conclusions are suggested by this study. Firstly, there are high levels of hypomanic symptoms in undergraduate students diagnosed with depression, suggesting that a formal diagnosis of bipolar disorder should be pursued in those with high scores. Alternatively, the cut-off points previously suggested for the HCL-32 may not be accurate for use with undergraduate students.

Keyword: Hypomanic, Hypomania Checklist, Bipolar Disorder, Unipolar Depression, Undergraduate Students.
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