Beck Depression Inventory
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The Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) is a test frequently used to determine the severity of the depression from which a person suffers. The test is relatively short and is in a multiple-choice format. It is a self-report measure, as the individual patient fills it out at their own discretion. Each of the 21 questions has four options that count as zero to three points toward the final tally; the answer indicating no depression in a given measure gives zero points, while the most severe indicator gives three. Each of the questions has equal bearing on the final score.
The questions of the BDI focus on three areas: negative cognitions related to the world, the future, and to the self. Aaron T. Beck, the test’s creator, conceived of depression as a condition caused by these negative cognitions and not, as many others believed, a condition that causes them. A later revision of the Inventory, the BDI-II, added a physical component to the test, which had previously focused only on questions about a patient’s feelings and mood. Physically-related measures include questions about levels of energy and appetite, as physical problems had been found to be characteristics of depression as well.
Beck’s treatment model for depression became widely accepted, leading to the BDI gaining prominence as a measuring technique even for psychologists not using Beck’s Cognitive Therapy framework. Researchers outside of therapeutic practice have also found it useful to employ the Beck Depression Inventory in psychology studies.