Beck Depression Inventory

Depression Inventory
murat sarica/Getty Images


The Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), which was created by the founder of cognitive therapy, Dr. Aaron T. Beck, is a self-report questionnaire used in the evaluation of the existence and severity of depression symptoms.

It is designed for use in persons over the age of 13 and consists of 21 questions related to possible depression symptoms. Each question is answered on a 4-point scale, ranging from 0 to 3, with a higher number indicating greater severity of that particular symptom and 0 indicating an absence of that symptom.

The sum of all the individual item scores indicates the severity of depression and the total scores are correlated with depression severity in the following manner:

  • 0-9: minimal depression
  • 10-16: mild depression
  • 17-29: moderate depression
  • 30-63: severe depression

In 1996, the questions in the BDI were revised to reflect changes made in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fourth Edition. Like the BDI, the BDI-II also contains 21 questions, with each answer being scored on a scale of 0 to 3. The cutoffs used, however, are somewhat different:

  • 0–13: minimal depression
  • 14–19: mild depression
  • 20–28: moderate depression
  • 29–63: severe depression

A shorter form of the questionnaire, called the BDI-PC, contains only seven questions and is designed for administration by primary care physicians.


Also Known As: Beck Depression Scale, BDI,BDI-II, BDI-PC

Continue Reading