Beck Depression Inventory

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The Beck Depression Inventory was developed to measure the behavioral manifestations of depression in adolescents and adults. It was designed to standardize the assessment of depression severity in order to monitor change over time or to simply describe the illness. The BDI is a 21-item test presented in multiple choice format which is used to measure presence and degree of depression in adolescents and adults. Each of the 21-items of the BDI attempts to assess a specific symptom or attitude associated with depression, that association being consistent with descriptions of the depression contained in the psychiatric literature. The test takes 5-10 minutes to complete. Reading age of about 10 is required for a patient who is self-administering the test. In 1978, the scale was revised (BDI-IA) to eliminate duplicate severity descriptors and to reword certain items. In addition, the time frame for assessment was lengthened to the "last week, including today." In 1996, a new version of the BDI (BDI-II) with a modification of items to reflect DSM-IV criteria and to simplify wording was published. The time frame was extended to include the "last 2 weeks." The BDI-II is a 21 item measure (Beck et al., 1996) self-report measure. Although psychometric data presented in the manual for the new BDI-II look promising, the time frame extension to 2 weeks makes this instrument less useful for assessing patterns of change over time. There is evidence that the BDI-II performs well in treatment-seeking substance abusers.

Mental Health