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Beck Depression Inventory (BDI)
Aaron T. Beck
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Series of questions developed to measure the intensity, severity, and depth of depression in patients with psychiatric diagnoses. Its long form is composed of 21 questions, each designed to assess a specific symptom common among people with depression. A shorter form is composed of seven questions and is designed for administration by primary care providers. The BDI is copyrighted by Aaron T. Beck and licensed through Pearson.[2]

The BDI was originally developed to detect, assess, and monitor changes in depressive symptoms among people in a mental health care setting. It is also used to detect depressive symptoms in a primary care setting. The BDI usually takes between five and ten minutes to complete as part of a psychological or medical examination.[1]

Test-retest results concluded that the correlation coefficient remained above the recommended threshold and internal consistency reliability highlighted alpha coefficient results consistently above suggested scores, leading to the conclusion that the BDI is probably an effective screening tool in an alcohol-dependent population.[1]

Reliability & Validity
The BDI has also been extensively tested for reliability, following established standards for psychological tests published in 1985. Internal consistency has been successfully estimated by over 25 studies in many populations. The BDI has been shown to be valid and reliable, with results corresponding to clinician ratings of depression in more than 90% of all cases.

The BDI has been extensively tested for content validity, concurrent validity, and construct validity. The BDI has content validity (the extent to which items of a test are representative of that which is to be measured) because it was constructed from a consensus among clinicians about depressive symptoms displayed by psychiatric patients. Concurrent validity is a measure of the extent to which a test concurs with already existing standards; at least 35 studies have shown concurrent validity between the BDI and such measures of depression as the Hamilton Depression Scale and the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-D . Following a range of biological factors, attitudes, and behaviors, tests for construct validity (the degree to which a test measures an internal construct or variable) have shown the BDI to be related to medical symptoms, anxiety, stress , loneliness, sleep patterns, alcoholism, suicidal behaviors, and adjustment among youth.screening tool in an alcohol-dependent population.[2]

  • American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. 4th edition, text revised. Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Association, 2000.
  • Beck, A. T., A. J. Rush, B. F. Shaw, and D. Emery. Cognitive therapy of depression. New York: Guilford Press, 1979.
  • Beck, A. T., and R. A. Steer. "Internal consistencies of the original and revised Beck Depression Inventory." Journal of Clinical Psychology 40 (1984): 1365-1367.
  • Beck, A. T., R. A. Steer, and G. M. Garbin. "Psychometric properties of the Beck Depression Inventory: Twenty-five years of evaluation." Clinical Psychology Review, 8 (1988): 77-100.
  • Beck, A. T., D. Guthy, R. A. Steer, and R. Ball. "Internal consistencies of the original and revised Beck Depression Inventory." Journal of Clinical Psychology, 40 (1984): 1365-1367.

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Form Information
  • Suited for: It was developed to measure the behavioral manifestations of depression in adolescents and adults[3]
  • Administered by: The BDI is designed for use by trained professionals. While it should be administered by a knowledgeable mental health professional who is trained in its use and interpretation, it is often self-administered.[2]
  • PDF Version*PDF
Related Forms
  • BDI-II
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