“Is Becks Depression Inventory the best tool to use to measure your depression?”

Becks Depression Inventory (BDI) has become a long-used and accepted tool, but is it accurate?

The BDI tool was created by Dr. Aaron T Beck – a U.S. psychiatrist. Beck is a professor of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania and is the director of the Center for the Treatment and Prevention of Suicide.

“How does it work?”

Becks Depression Inventory is made up of 21 questions to ask you and your answers help to determine if you suffer from depression. It was originally was published in 1961 and has been continually revised.

“Is it accurate?”

Well, some people believe that the inventory relies too heavily on physical symptoms. (And so doctors might consider using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies - Depression Scale (CES-D) or the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) as alternative measures).

If your main symptoms of depression are emotional, you may get unusually high scores on the BDI. This is because it is weighed toward emotional symptoms. The first two-thirds of the questions scores emotional symptoms and the remaining third scores physical symptoms.


The BDI is an old and long-used tool, but one must be careful not to over-rely on a single rating tool to determine how seriously you are depressed, especially if results are found to be unexpectedly high or low. Bear in mind how the BDI was initially proven legit: by comparison with doctors' impressions of their depressed patients, who then completed the questionnaire.

"BDI-II?" (Basically the BDI revised)

So, then came part 2 of the BDI! In 1996 came a few changes... If you were to take the Becks Depression Inventory II, you'd be asked how you've been feeling for that past 2 weeks instead of just 1. There are now better questions asking about your sleeping and eating whether more or less. The BDI-II still has 21 questions, and each answer is scored on a scale value of 0 to 3. Here's the layout: 0-13 - minimal depression; 14-19 - mild depression; 20-28 -moderate depression; and 29-63 - severe depression. A higher total score would reveal you suffer from more severe depressive symptoms.

(The warnings still apply to the new revision of the Becks Depression Inventory, however.)

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"6 Powerful Ingredients to Cure Your Depression"

More depression articles…

Back to Home from Becks Depression Inventory

• Ambrosini P.J., Metz C., Bianchi M.D., Rabinovich H., Undie A. (1991). "Concurrent validity and psychometric properties of the Beck Depression Inventory in outpatient adolescents." J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 30: 51-57

• Beck A.T. (1988). "Beck Hopelessness Scale." The Psychological Corporation.

• Beck A.T., Ward C., Mendelson M. (1961). "Beck Depression Inventory (BDI)". Arch Gen Psychiatry 4: 561-571.

• Craven J.L., Rodin G.M., Littlefield C. (1988). The Beck Depression Inventory as a screening device for major depression in renal dialysis patients. Int J Psychiatry Med 18: 365-374

• Moore M.J., Moore P.B., Shaw P.J. (1998) "Mood disturbances in motor neurone disease". Journal of the Neurological Sciences 160 Suppl 1: S53-S56

Beck Depression Inventory, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Beck_Depression_Inventory&oldid=63973943 (last visited July 17, 2006). Back to Home