Beck Depression Inventory ( Bdi )

What is Beck Depression Inventory ( BDI )?

The Beck Depression Inventory (BDI - Beck, Ward, Mendelson, Mock & Erbaugh, 1961) is a psychological test procedure that measures the severity of depressive symptoms in the clinical area. It was named after Aaron T. Beck. In the questionnaire with 21 questions from the participants determined that it is the four statements to him / most accurately this week. To evaluate the sum value of each ticked statements are added. Over time, the first thought to be a standardized interview process has been developed into two processed forms, the BDI - 1A (1978) and the BDI - II (1996). In addition to these two forms have been around since the fall of 2013. shorthand in German language, the BDI-FS is called (FS stands for "Fast Screen") BDI-II, and captures the severity of depression based on the non-somatic symptoms.

Development and history

The Beck Depression Inventorwas developed in 1961 from observations of depressed patients and their actions. In the questionnaire were then described symptoms that were often portrayed by depressed patients and nondepressed patients do not.

A first adaptation of the BDI was published in 1994 by Martin Hautzinger, Maja Bailer, Hellgard Worall, Ferdinand Keller. The German adaptation of the BDI-II was designed by Martin Hautzinger, Ferdinand Keller, Christine KÅ©hner. Schmitt and Meas 2000 have made an attempt simplification in the context of a DFG-funded longitudinal section of the project. For one, they have waived the issue of weight loss, since this question according to studies has the lowest selectivity (Hautzinger et al, 1994;. Chamber, 1983), and on the other hand, the four response alternatives replaced by a six-point scale (from 0 / never to 5 / almost always).

The original BDI consists of 21 questions about how the patient has felt in the past week. There are four possible answers, which are ordered by their intensity for each question.


(0) I'm not sad.

(1) I'm sad.

(2) I am sad all the time and can not get rid of it.

(3) I am so sad or unhappy that I hardly bear it.

The BDI-1A is a revision of the original version. In this version, Beck facilitated in the 1970s through the questions with simplified answers. The internal consistency of this revised version was very good, with a Cronbach's alpha of 0.85. Unfortunately, the questionnaire did not treat all of the nine diagnostic criteria from the DSM-III.

On the one hand have been reformulated targeted at better understanding and higher information gain for the revised version published in 1996, BDI-II, the original version designed specifically for the DSM-IV criteria for major depression matching items and other, already existing items. New symptoms described include restlessness, worthlessness, difficulty concentrating and loss of energy. Items to symptoms changes in body image preoccupation with physical symptoms, weight loss and work difficulties were eliminated from the process.

The instrument is now used not only as a diagnostic tool in practice, but also in research and used internationally. It has been translated into several European languages as well as in Arabic, Chinese, Japanese and the Persian.

In 2013 published short form of the BDI-II was originally written by Aaron T. Beck, Gregory K. Brown and Robert A. Steerder and was published in 2000. The short form of the Depression Inventory excluded from the somatic depression criteria for a diagnosis of major depression according to DSM-IV and DSM-5. The questionnaire works as a consequence, with only seven items. The omission of items to somatic complaints and for performance to improve the diagnosis in patients with medical problems where the inclusion of somatic criteria in the BDI-II has led to an erroneous increase in the prevalence of depression. The test procedure is thus in practice for groups of patients with specific disease images, such as multiple sclerosis, cancer, chronic pain, addictions, HIV, but also thinking of mixed primary health disorders.


For completing the test (with pencil and paper or on the computer) there is no timing. Suffice it to answer the duration of each item. Thus, there is no time pressure during processing. In the German version of the BDI, there are four possible answers to each statement. The implementation period is on average 5 to 10 minutes, including instruction.


To evaluate all values of the individual statements are added and then compared with limit values (cut-off values). If a subject selected several alternative answers to the same question (for example 1 and 2), the label is counted with the highest point value (in this example, 2). In a separate gender- or age-specific consideration of the values was made, as no systematic gender or age differences were found, which would not be explained by chance on the BDI.

According to BDI have values from 11 to 17 points on a "mild to moderate severity of depressive symptoms" out. To be clinically relevant to the BDI only values of 18 and counted about it since these values lie two standard deviations above the mean of healthy persons.

It is assumed that the limits of the BDI-II have changed.

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