What is The Beck Depression Inventory (BDI)

The Beck Depression Inventory

What is The Beck Depression Inventory (BDI)

Written By Fouzia Sultana

The Islamia University of Bahawalpur

Bahawalnagar Campus


The Beck Depression Inventory was first published in 1961 and later revised in 1971 (BDI-IA). In 1978 it was further revised (BDI-IA) and in 1996 (BDI-II) edition was developed for research purpose only by Aaron T. Beck, Robert A. Steer and Gregory K. Brown. The BDI-II edition consists of 21 items. These are following

1)Sadness                                                                                12) loss of interest

2)Pessimism                                                                            13) indecisiveness

3)Failure                                                                                  14) Worthlessness

4)Loss of pleasure                                                                   15) Loss of energy

5)Guilt of feeling                                                                    16) Change in sleeping

6) Punishment felling                                                              17) Irritability

7)Self dislike                                                                           18) Change in appetite

8)Self criticalness                                                                    19) Concentration difficulty

9)Suicidal wishes                                                                    20) Tiredness

10)Crying                                                                                21) Loss of interest in sex


Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) is a Self report instrument for measuring the severity of depression in adults, adolescents of age 3 years or older. It was developed for the assessment of symptoms corresponding to the criteria for the diagnosis of depression listed in the DSM by APA. Some older terminologies were also changed in the new BDI which are the following.

Old term use in BDI                               New term use in BDI-II

Body image                                                   Agitation

Somatic preoccupies                                     Worthlessness

Work deficiency                                            concentration difficulty

Weight loss                                                    Loss of energy

Score range of BDI-II test:

  • Minimal lie in 0 to 13
  • Mild lie in 14 to 19
  • Moderate lie in 20 to 28
  • Sever lie in 29 to 63.