You can assess depression with the Beck Depression Inventory®—II (BDI®–II), which is in line with the depression criteria of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders—Fourth Edition (DSM–IV). This new edition of the Beck Depression Inventory®, the most widely used instrument for detecting depression, takes just five minutes to complete and is more clinically sensitive than ever.
Like its predecessor, the BDI–II consists of 21 items to assess the intensity of depression in clinical and normal patients. Each item is a list of four statements arranged in increasing severity about a particular symptom of depression. These new items bring the BDI–II into alignment with DSM–IV criteria.
Items on the new scale replace items that dealt with symptoms of weight loss, changes in body image, and somatic preoccupation. Another item on the BDI that tapped work difficulty was revised to examine loss of energy. Also, sleep loss and appetite loss items were revised to assess both increases and decreases in sleep and appetite.
Time Frame Increased
Current DSM–IV guidelines require assessing depression symptoms over the preceding two weeks. The time frame for the response set in the new edition was changed from one week to two to comply.
Improved Clinical Sensitivity
After testing original and new items on a large clinical sample (N = 500), test developers compared item-option characteristic curves. The new editions showed improved clinical sensitivity, with the reliability of the BDI–II (Coefficient Alpha = .92) higher than the BDI (Coefficient Alpha = .86).