Objective: To assess the usefulness of the General Behavior Inventory (GBI) to predict the development of mood disorders in the offspring of parents with bipolar disorder. Method: The GBI and the K-SADS (first measurement) and the SCID (last measurement) were used to assess psychopathology among 129 adolescent and young adult offspring of a bipolar parent with an interval of 5 years. Based on the SCID results at the last measurement, the offspring were assigned to one of four groups: with bipolar mood disorder, with unipolar mood disorders, with non-mood disorders and without disorders and GBI-scores at the first measurement were compared across the four groups. Results: The scores on the Depression scale of the GBI for the offspring who later developed a bipolar or any mood disorder were significantly higher than for the offspring who did not develop a mood disorder across a 5-year interval. For the offspring with a unipolar mood disorder at the first measurement, the scores on the Depression scale were significantly higher for those who switched to bipolar disorder versus those who remained unipolar. Conclusions: The GBI can be used in a high-risk sample of offspring of parents with bipolar disorder as a self-report measure as an aid to detect those who will develop bipolar disorder across a 5-year interval. (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.