10.10. Beck Depression Inventory (BDI)


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10.10.1. Intellectual property rights

Copyright to the BDI is held by Pearson, and the scale is commercial; see http://www.pearsonassessments.com/.

10.10.2. Sources and notes

  • Overviews: see [WikipediaBDI], [Beck1988], [JacksonKoku2016], [Beck2010], [Smarr2003].

  • Notes:

    • The BDI (= BDI-I), BDI-IA (“revised BDI”), and BDI-II all have 21 questions.

    • The 21 questions mostly map to the same concepts in all versions (e.g. Q1 sadness, Q2 pessimism/hopelessness, Q3 feeling a failure), but there are some differences between versions.

    • Q9 concerns suicidal thoughts/wishes (in the BDI, BDI-IA, and BDI-II).

    • There is also a BDI Short Form (BDI-SF), which has 13 questions; see e.g. [Chibnall1994].

    • There’s also a “BDI FastScreen for Medical Patients” (= BDI-Primary Care, BDI-PC), which has 7 questions [Smarr2003].

  • BDI-I (“BDI”): reference is [Beck1961].

    • Distinguishing features:

      • rates “right now” [Beck1988]

      • some questions have multiple answers having the same score (see Wikipedia article above), e.g. “2a” and “2b” answers both scoring 2.

    • Summary of questions, each rated 0-3 [Beck1988]: “(a) Mood, (b) Pessimism, (c) Sense of Failure, (d) Lack of Satisfaction, (e) Guilt Feelings, (f) Sense of Punishment, (g) Self-dislike, (h) Self-accusation, (i) Suicidal Wishes, (j) Crying, (k) Irritability, (l) Social Withdrawal, (m) Indecisiveness, (n) Distortion of Body Image, (o) Work Inhibition, (p) Sleep Disturbance, (q) Fatigability, (r) Loss of Appetite, (s) Weight Loss, (t) Somatic Preoccupation, and (u) Loss of Libido.”

  • BDI-IA (“revised BDI”): developed from 1971, copyrighted in 1978 (as per [Beck1988]), published in 1979; reference is [Beck1979].

    • Distinguishing features:

      • rates the past one week [Beck1988] [Beck1996b]

      • only one answer per score

      • Q11 irritation

      • Q14 own appearance

      • Q15 ability to work

      • Q17 tiredness

      • Q19 weight loss

      • Q20 health worry

    • Compared to the BDI, there are fewer responses or wording changes for 15 items; 6 are unchanged (irritability, crying, fatigability, appetite, weight loss, loss of libido) [Beck1988].

    • Summary of questions, each rated 0-3 [Beck1996b]: (1) sadness, (2) pessimism, (3) sense of failure, (4) self-dissatisfaction, (5) guilt, (6) punishment, (7) self-dislike, (8) self-accusations, (9) suicidal ideas, (10) crying, (11) irritability, (12) social withdrawal, (13) indecisiveness, (14) body image change, (15) work difficulty, (16) insomnia, (17) fatigability, (18) loss of appetite, (19) weight loss, (20) somatic preoccupation, (21) loss of libido.

  • BDI-II [Beck1996a]:

    • Distinguishing features:

      • rates the past two weeks [Beck1996b]

      • only one answer per score, except sleep question (Q16) and appetite question (Q18)

      • sleep and appetite questions deal with increases as well as decreases

      • Q11 agitation/restlessness

      • Q14 own worth

      • Q15 loss of energy

      • Q17 irritability

      • Q19 concentration

      • Q20 tiredness/fatigue

    • Summary of questions, each rated 0-3 [Beck1996b] [Steer1999] [Gary2018]: (1) sadness, (2) pessimism, (3) past failure, (4) loss of pleasure, (5) guilty feelings, (6) punishment feelings, (7) self-dislike, (8) self-criticalness, (9) suicidal thoughts or wishes, (10) crying, (11) agitation, (12) loss of interest, (13) indecisiveness, (14) worthlessness, (15) loss of energy, (16) changes in sleeping pattern, (17) irritability, (18) changes in appetite, (19) concentration difficulty, (20) tiredness or fatigue, (21) loss of interest in sex.



Beck AT, Ward CH, Mendelson M, Mock J, Erbaugh J (1961). An inventory for measuring depression. Arch. Gen. Psychiatry 4: 561–71. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1961.01710120031004. PMID 13688369.


Beck AT, Rush AJ, Shaw BF, Emery G (1979). Cognitive therapy of depression. New York: Guilford Press.


Beck AT, Steer RA, Carbin MG (1988). Psychometric properties of the Beck Depression Inventory: Twenty-five years of evaluation. Clinical Psychology Review* 8: 77-100. doi:10.1016/0272-7358(88)90050-5.


Chibnall JT, Tait RC (1994). The short form of the Beck Depression Inventory: Validity issues with chronic pain patients. Clinical Journal of Pain 10: 261-266. PMID 7858354.


Beck AT, Steer RA, Brown GK (1996). Manual for the Beck Depression Inventory-II. San Antonio, TX: Psychological Corporation.


Beck AT, Steer RA, Ball R, Ranieri W (1996). Comparison of Beck Depression Inventories -IA and -II in psychiatric outpatients. Journal of Personality Assessment 67: 588–597. doi:10.1207/s15327752jpa6703_13. PMID 8991972.


Steer RA, Ball R, Ranieri WF, Beck AT (1999). Dimensions of the Beck Depression Inventory-II in clinically depressed outpatients. J Clin Psychol 55: 117-128. PMID 10100838.


Smarr KL. Measures of depression and depressive symptoms. Arthritis & Rheumatism 49: S134-S146. doi: 10.1002/art.11410.


Beck AT, Steer RA, Ball R, Ranieri WF (2010). Comparison of Beck Depression Inventories-IA and-II in Psychiatric Outpatients. Journal of Personality Assessment 67: 588-597. doi:10.1207/s15327752jpa6703_13. PMID 8991972.


Jackson-Koku G (2016). Questionnaire review: Beck Depression Inventory. Occupational Medicine 66: 174-175. doi:10.1093/occmed/kqv087. PMID 26892598.


Gary F, Yarandi H, Evans E, Still C, Michels P, Hassan M, Campbell DW, Conic R (2018). Beck Depression Inventory-II: Factor analyses with three groups of midlife women of African descent in the Midwest, the South, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Issues Ment Health Nurs 39: 233-243. doi:10.1080/01612840.2017.1373175. PMID 29193995.