The Beck Depression Inventory II is a measurement tool used to evaluate depression based on 21 variables. The scale comprises of four points with a range of 0 to 3. The score is arrived at by adding the highest points obtained in all the twenty one (21) variables. The score range can therefore vary from 0 to 63.
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The Beck Depression Inventory II score can be used to evaluate depression in a population and to determine the degree of depression. The validity of the Beck Depression Inventory II depends on the clinician’s ability to closely look at the depressive symptoms while being keen on the details of the specific variable.
This can be helpful in ensuring proper diagnosis as a prerequisite for correct psychological treatment. An accurate diagnostic instrument would maximize both sensitivity and specificity at an optimally efficient cut point (Ward, 2006).
The Beck Depression inventory tool is highly dependable and valid in measuring symptoms associated with depression as it gives adequate results indicating the extent of depression. This comes in handy in identifying people who have disorders. General and specific variables of depression in the population sample need to be considered to ensure the validity of the BDI results.
Limited information regarding the accuracy of the tool in diagnosis is available but it has the capability of being used to evaluate depression in populations. In a research on the accuracy of the Beck Depression Inventory to diagnose depression symptoms, as reported by Ward (2006), a two-year follow up on a sample of depressed outpatients showed interesting results.
It was observed that at diagnostic cut-points of 14/15 the tool was able identify 85% of those diagnosed by the SCID as positively depressed. This can be considered as somewhat high degree of accuracy. The tool can therefore be of great importance in identifying depression cases as long as correct cut points are set for the respective population.
The tool also proves to be better in diagnosis than random diagnosis. The Beck Depression tool can provide reliable results to diagnose MDD and dysthymia. However, the tool can over identify depression disorders when more sensitive cut points are established.
Ward, C. (2006). Comparison of factor structure models for the Beck Depression Inventory—II. Psychological Assessment in the Public Domain, 18(1), 81-88.