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Beck Depression Inventory: 
21 Questions Provides A Clearer Picture of Depression

The Beck Depression Inventory can give you a clearer picture of your depression. With only 21 multiple-choice questions, the BDI is one of the most used tools for determining the severity of depression. 


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How Does The Beck
Depression Inventory Work?

The first portion of the beck depression inventory zeros in on psychological symptoms, while the second part assesses physical symptoms.

The inventory focuses on the most common depression symptoms. 

Emotional signs and symptoms:

  • mood
  • pessimism
  • self-dissatisfaction
  • guilt
  • sense of failure
  • suicidal thoughts

Physical signs and symptoms:

  • appetite
  • weight loss
  • crying
  • irritability
  • social withdrawal
  • self-accusation 
  • insomnia
  • fatigue
  • appetite

Each of the 21 inventory items is scored on a scale of 0-3.  Zero means that there's a lack of the symptom, while a 3 represents high symptom intensity.

Here's a sample question on sadness:

0  I do not feel sad.

1  I feel sad.

2  I am sad all the time and I can't snap out of it.

3  I am so sad and unhappy that I can't stand it.

Scoring the test is simple and fast. 

The lowest possible score is zero and indicates little to no depression.  The highest possible score is 63 and indicates severe depression.

Here are the typical score results.

1-10:   Ups and downs are considered normal 

11-16: Mild mood disturbance 

17-20: Borderline clinical depression 

21-30: Moderate depression 

31-40: Severe depression 

40+:    Extreme depression

Download and complete the Beck Depression Inventory. Click here.


Beck Depression Inventory: Historical Tid-Bit

The inventory was developed in the early 1960s by psychiatrist, Aaron Beck.   Dr. Beck developed his inventory based on research concerning cognitive behavioral therapy.

The questionnaire was further developed during the 1970s.  The updated version (BDI-1A) was more user friendly and encouraged users to evaluate symptoms over a two week period. (1)

The most updated version, known as BDI-II, was revised in 1996.  Questions about sleep and appetite were revised to reflect personal changes over the weeks before taking the inventory. (2)


I remember completing the inventory during my therapy days. Oh my gosh, this was so much better than the other long, boring and repetitive evaluation questionnaires.   

If  you've been through talk therapy, you know exactly what I mean.  

If you're unclear of where you sit on the depression scale take the inventory.  It will only take you a maximum of 10 minutes.  Be honest with your feelings and if need be, discuss the results with a certified therapist.

By the way...

You can download and complete the inventory now if you wish. So go ahead...


 Resources:

1. Moran PW, Lambert MJ (1983). "A review of current assessment tools for monitoring changes in depression". In Lambert MS, Christensen ER, DeJulio S. The Assessment of Psychotherapy Outcomes. New York: Wiley.

2. Beck AT, Steer RA, Ball R, Ranieri W (December 1996). "Comparison of Beck Depression Inventories -IA and -II in psychiatric outpatients". Journal of Personality Assessment. 67 (3): 588–97. doi:10.1207/s15327752jpa6703_13. PMID 8991972. Retrieved 10-10-2016


I hope this article helps you on your journey to better mental health!

Brighter skies are ahead,





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› Beck Depression Inventory



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Week 1

This first installment focuses on the link between exercise, diet and good mental health.

Week 2

I'll talk about the importance of using relaxation techniques to lift your mood and calm your nerves, which in turn improves mental health. 

Week 3

This week all about using self-esteem to improve mental health and overall well-being. 

Week 4

This final week presents ways to reduce social media usage. Studies show that over consumption of social media contributes to anxiety and depression.

Click here to start this free e-course!