Clinical Psychology
and Psychotherapy

Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy

Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-II)

The Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) by Aaaron T. Beck is a self-report inventory to determine the severity of depressive symptoms.


The Beck Depression Inventory was based on clinical observations of depressed patients. In 21 items the most common depressive symptoms (eg, sad mood, pessimism, failure, dissatisfaction, guilt, crying, irritability, social withdrawal, inability to resolve, insomnia, appetite loss, etc.) are evaluated. The total value of the BDI can range from 0 to 63 points. Values ​​below 11 points are considered normal. Values ​​between 11 and 17 points are regarded as a mild to moderate expression of depressive symptoms. Values of 18 and above are considered as a clinically relevant depression.


Since the Beck Depression Inventory in its original version has incomplete coverage of the different diagnostic criteria for depression (such as those required for the DSM-IV)  in 1996 the BDI-II was developed. Parallel to the change of the items and response options there was a reclassification of the severity. In the BDI-II values ​​below 13 points are regarded as no or minimal depressive symptoms. Ranges between 14 and 19 points indicate a mild expression of depressive symptoms, values ​​between 20 and 28 points a moderate severity. Scores between 29 and 63 are regarded as evidence of severe depressive symptoms. The completion time for the BDI-II is 10-15 minutes.

© Sandra Elze, M.D. & Michael Elze, M.D.
Prien am Chiemsee / Rosenheim,


Further Reading...


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Depressive Disorders: Guidelines

American Psychiatric Association - APA (2010). Practice Guideline for the treatment of patients with major depressive disorder. 3rd edition. Arlington: APPI.

DGPPN, BK, KBV, AWMF, Akd, BPtK, BApK, DAGSHG, DEGAM, DGPM, DGPs, DGRW (Hrsg) fr die Leitliniengruppe Unipolare Depression (2009). S3-Leitlinie/Nationale VersorgungsLeitlinie Unipolare Depression - Kurzfassung, 1. Auflage. Berlin, Dsseldorf: DGPPN, ZQ, AWMF.
Online-Version >>

National Institute for Health an Clinical Excellence - NICE (Hrsg) (2009). Depression - The treatment and management of depression in adults. Clinical guideline 90. London: NICE.
Online-Version >>

National Institute for Health an Clinical Excellence - NICE (2003). Guidance on the use of electroconvulsive therapy. Technology Appraisal Guideline 59. London: NICE.
Online-Version >>


Beck-Depressions-Inventar  Beck Depression Inventory  Beck Depression Inventory

© Sandra Elze, M.D. & Michael Elze, M.D.
Prien am Chiemsee / Rosenheim,


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© Sandra Elze, M.D. & Michael Elze, M.D.
Prien am Chiemsee / Rosenheim,
Last updated: 03-24-2016

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