Should you take the Beck depression test?

Dr. A. T. Beck created the widely used Beck depression test in 1961. Its latest revision (BDI-II) was completed in 1996.

(BDI refers to Beck Depression Inventory.)

It was regarded at the time as somewhat controversial. Now it is thought of as being a breakthrough by health care professionals. It has gained acceptance since its design and is currently regarded as a depression test which faces the complexity of depression diagnosis head-on.

beck depression inventory test

What is it?

It’s a self-reporting scale (beck depression scale) consisting of a questionnaire made up of 21 multiple-choice tests suitable for individuals age 13 and over.

The results measure the presence of depression or depression symptoms. And it can be done with or without professional assistance.

This is the so-called self-reporting inventory. They reflect a person's own thoughts in an unbiased way rather than those of a health care professional.

What are its uses?

The beck depression test can monitor changes over a period of time. It is used as an objective way of measuring improvement and assessing the effectiveness of treatment.

What are the questions?

Each question is designed to test for a specific symptom of depression. As you would expect, the questions range from feelings of hopelessness to weight loss to specific behavior patterns.

How long will the test take?

It can take as little as five minutes.

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What are its limitations?

Some people may exaggerate their symptoms and this could create bias with the reporting.

Conversely, for people in some stage of denial, under-reporting of the severity or frequency of symptoms is also a possibility.

The inclusion of questions related to physical symptoms may affect results. These symptoms may have causes other than depression.


Although you can take the Beck Depression Test yourself, accurate interpretation of results should be made by a qualified health care professional.

Dr. A.T. Beck is an American psychiatrist and a professor emeritus at the Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania.

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Is depression the result of recurrent panic and anxiety attacks, or does it happen the other way round? Does the threat of getting another panic attack produce depression and irrational fear in some people?

Either way, there is hope for those who wish to cope with panic attack depression - without taking medication.

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