The Beck Depression Inventory is copyrighted by the Psychological Corporation. Material here presented is only for educational purpose because the BDI should be used only by registered professionals. The original version of the BDI was introduced by Beck, Ward, Mendelson, Mock and Erbaugh in 1961 (cited in Victims’ Web, 2007). The BDI was revised in 1971 and made copyright in 1978.

The BDI is a 21 item self-report rating inventory measuring characteristic attitudes and symptoms of depression. Each item represents one attitude, such as sadness, pessimism, sense of failure, dissatisfaction, guilt, expectation of punishment, dislike of self, self accusation, suicidal ideation, episodes of crying, irritability, social withdrawal, indecisiveness, change in body image, retardation, insomnia, fatigability, loss of appetite, loss of weight, somatic preoccupation and low level of energy.

The highest score on each of the twenty-one questions is three (3), the highest possible total for the whole test is sixty-three (63). The lowest possible score for the whole test is zero. The total is obtained when the scores are added for all of the twenty-one questions.

Levels of Depression according to the BDI:

05 – 09 Healthy score
10 – 18 Mild to moderate depression
19 – 29 Moderate to severe depression
30 – 63 Severe depression

Samples items of the BDI questions:

Item 7 – Dislike of self

0 I don’t feel disappointed in myself.
1 I am disappointed in myself.
2 I am disgusted with myself.
3 I hate myself.

Item 20 – Somatic preoccupation

0 I am no more worried about my health than usual
1 I am worried about physical problems such as aches or pains, or upset stomach, or constipation.
2 I am very worried about physical problems and it’s hard to think of much else.
3 I am so worried about my physical problems that I cannot think about anything else.