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Author Notes:

David J. Miklowitz, PhD, Department of Psychology, Muenzinger Bldg, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309-0345 (miklowitz@colorado.edu)

Dr Miklowitz verifies that he had full access to all of the data in the study and takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.

Dr Dickinson was the project statistician.

Adrine Biuckians, MA, Tina Goldstein, PhD, Eunice Kim, PhD, Kimberley Mullen, MA, Amy Schlonski, LCSW, and Tim Winbush, LCSW, served as study therapists; Susan Wassick, RN, Amy Mechels, MA, Chad Morris, PhD, Victoria Cosgrove, MA, and Laura Wagenknecht, MA, served as independent evaluators; and Mary Beth Hickey served as the study's data manager.

Dr Miklowitz reported receiving funding from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the National Association for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression, the Robert Sutherland Foundation, and the Danny Alberts Foundation, and book royalties from Guilford Press and John Wiley and Sons.

Dr Birmaher reported receiving honoraria from Solvay Pharmacueticals and Abcomm, Inc, and book royalties from Random House, Inc.

Dr Craighead reported receiving honoraria from Forest Laboratories, Eli Lilly Co, and Novadel, and book royalties from John Wiley and Sons.


Research Funding:

This study was supported by NIMH grants R21-MH62555 and R01-MH073871, a Distinguished Investigator Award from the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression, and a Faculty Fellowship from the University of Colorado Council on Research and Creative Work (Dr Miklowitz); and NIMH grants MH066371 (Dr Brent) and MH01878 (Dr Axelson).


  • Science & Technology
  • Life Sciences & Biomedicine
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry
  • Neurosciences & Neurology
  • bipolar disorder
  • adolescence
  • childhood
  • psychosocial treatment
  • family therapy
  • expressed emotion

Family-focused treatment for adolescents with bipolar disorder


Journal Title:

Journal of Affective Disorders


Volume 82, Number SUPPL.


, Pages S113-S128

Type of Work:

Article | Post-print: After Peer Review


Research has begun to elucidate the optimal pharmacological treatments for pediatric-onset bipolar patients, but few studies have examined the role of psychosocial interventions as adjuncts to pharmacotherapy in maintenance treatment. This article describes an adjunctive family-focused psychoeducational treatment for bipolar adolescents (FFT-A). The adult version of FFT has been shown to be effective in forestalling relapses in two randomized clinical trials involving bipolar adults. FFT-A is administered to adolescents who have had an exacerbation of manic, depressed, or mixed symptoms within the last 3 months. It is given in 21 outpatient sessions of psychoeducation, communication enhancement training, and problem solving skills training. We describe modifications to the adult FFT model to address the developmental issues and unique clinical presentations of pediatric-onset patients. An open treatment trial involving 20 bipolar adolescents (11 boys, 9 girls; mean age 14.8±1.6) found that the combination of FFT-A and mood stabilizing medications was associated with improvements in depression symptoms, mania symptoms, and behavior problems over 1 year. These early results are based on a small-scale open trial. Results from an ongoing randomized controlled trial will clarify whether combining FFT-A with pharmacotherapy improves the 2-year course of adolescent bipolar disorder. If the results are positive, then a structured manual-based psychosocial approach will be available for clinicians who treat adolescent bipolar patients in the community.

Copyright information:

© 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

This is an Open Access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

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