Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) Review

This Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) Review offers information on this depression test for adults and adolescents.  If you think your teen is suffering from depression find out if the BDI test can help diagnose their depression. The BDI score can help determine mild depression to major depression.

The Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) is one of a number of tests designed to quickly gain an idea about whether someone might be depressed. It is not a diagnostic tool, but a screening device. Diagnosis can only be made by a trained health care professional, not from an inventory.

Unlike some instruments, which are designed to be used with children, the Beck Depression Inventory is designed to measure depression only in adults and adolescents. Twenty-one questions form the basis of the Beck Inventory, and each question is assigned of value of zero through three with a resulting single number as the score .The BDI is used by health care professionals and in research.

The Beck Depression Inventory was developed b Aaron T. Beck, a psychiatrist who focused on depression. He was instrumental in developing cognitive therapy and measures to allow self-reports of individuals to be used to assess depression, hopelessness, suicidal ideation, and anxiety. The current version of the inventory is copyright, and there is a charge for its use. It is published by Pearson in English and Spanish. The inventory takes between 5 and 10 minutes to complete.

Developed initially in 1961, the Beck Depression Inventory was revised in 1978 and 1996. The initial instrument, BDI, asked people about their feelings in the prior week. the BDI-IA, the first revision, asked them about their feelings in the prior two weeks. The BDI-IA was criticized for covering only six criteria for depression, whereas the DSM-III (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Third Edition), which was the classification of mental disorders in use by the American Psychiatric Association when the BDI-IA was published, had nine diagnostic criteria.

When the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders came out, the BDI-IA was revised to fit with it because the diagnostic criteria had been changed for Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). The result was the BDI-II, which, like the BDI-IA, also asked the individual about a two week period of time. The format remained 21 questions with a 0 to 3 scale.

Scoring on the BDI-II, the current instrument, gives a number from 0 to 63. There are no subscores. A score of 29 to 63 is indicative of severe depression; from 20 to 28 signals moderate depression; 14 to 19 indicates mild depression; and 0 to 13 shows minimal to no depression.

Despite the updates, the Beck Depression Inventory still has limitations. One limitation that has existed from the start is that it is based on the self-report of the person who takes it. Another issue is that other medical problems or physical ailments may interfere with the scoring, making an individual seem more depressed than he or she is. However, the BDI-II does correlate positively with the Scale for Suicide Ideation, the Beck Hopelessness Scale, the Hamilton Psychiatric Rating Scale for Anxiety.