BDI Scoring

Discover how to use the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) scoring system to identify & track depressive symptoms. Learn the benefits & interpretation of BDI scores.

By Telita Montales on Jun 20, 2024.

Fact Checked by Nate Lacson.

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What is a BDI Scoring Guide?

The Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) is a widely used 21-item self-report inventory designed to measure the presence and severity of depressive symptoms, as listed in the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fourth Edition (DSM-IV). The BDI was developed by psychiatrist Dr. Aaron T. Beck and colleagues in the 1960s.

Each item on the BDI corresponds to a specific symptom or attitude related to depression, with respondents asked to rate how much each statement applies to them over the past two weeks. The scoring scale ranges from 0 (symptom not present) to 3 (symptom strongly present). Total scores can range from 0 to 63, with higher scores indicating greater severity of depressive symptoms.

The BDI's scoring guide helps users interpret the total score: 0�??13 indicates minimal depression, 14�??19 mild depression, 20�??28 moderate depression, and 29�??63 severe depression. It's important to note that while the BDI is a valuable tool for identifying and tracking changes in depressive symptoms, it is not a diagnostic tool and should not replace a comprehensive clinical evaluation.

Printable BDI Scoring

Download this BDI Scoring to assess your client�??s depression symptoms.

How to use the Beck Depression Inventory Scoring:

The Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) is an effective tool for assessing and tracking depression severity in adults and adolescents. Here's a detailed guide on how to utilize this scoring system optimally:

Acquiring the BDI

You can access the BDI through our online platform, Carepatron. Download it as a PDF, edit or print it, and fill it out.

Completing the BDI

The BDI questionnaire requires the respondent to read each item carefully and choose the statement that best reflects their feelings over the past two weeks, including today. This self-reporting method fosters introspection and allows for a more personal understanding of one's mental state.

Scoring the BDI

Each item within the BDI is scored on a scale ranging from 0 to 3. The scores from each of the 21 items must be tallied to obtain a total score. This cumulative score provides a quantitative measure of the respondent's depressive symptoms.

Interpreting the Scores

Interpreting the BDI scores involves using the scoring guide. This guide helps translate numerical data into meaningful insights about the respondent's depressive symptoms. However, it's important to remember that the BDI is not a diagnostic tool, but rather, it's designed to measure the severity of depressive symptoms.

Monitoring and Follow-Up

The BDI is a practical tool for monitoring changes in depressive symptoms over time and evaluating the effectiveness of treatment or interventions. Regular follow-ups and consistent use of the BDI can provide valuable insights into the progress and efficacy of therapeutic measures.

Our printable Beck Depression Inventory scoring system is powerful for identifying, tracking, and understanding depressive symptoms. Whether you're a mental health professional or someone keen on self-assessment, mastering this tool can provide invaluable insights into mental well-being. Look for printable Beck Depression Inventory scorings to keep a tangible record of your progress.

Beck Depression Inventory Scoring Example

The Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) consists of 21 questions, each designed to assess a specific symptom associated with depression. Here's an example of how this scoring system works.

Let's take three items from the BDI for illustration:


  • 0: I do not feel sad.
  • 1: I feel sad much of the time.
  • 2: I am sad all the time.
  • 3: I am so sad or unhappy that I can't stand it.


  • 0: I am not discouraged about my future.
  • 1: I feel more discouraged about my future than I used to be.
  • 2: I do not expect things to work out for me.
  • 3: I feel my future is hopeless and will only get worse.

Loss of Pleasure

  • 0: I get as much pleasure as I ever did from the things I enjoy.
  • 1: I don't enjoy things as much as I used to.
  • 2: I get very little pleasure from the things I used to enjoy.
  • 3: I can't get any pleasure from the things I used to enjoy.

A person fills out the BDI by reading each group of statements and selecting the one that best matches their feelings over the past two weeks. The selected statement in each group has a score ranging from 0 to 3.

For instance, if a person chooses the second statement in "Sadness," the first statement in "Pessimism," and the third statement in "Loss of Pleasure," their total score for these three items would be 1+0+2 = 3.

The total score from all 21 items is then tallied to determine the severity of the individual's depressive symptoms. 

It's important to remember that this is not a diagnostic tool, but it provides valuable insight into the severity of depressive symptoms. For a comprehensive view and easy accessibility, you can find a Beck Depression Inventory Scoring PDF online from trusted sources like Carepatron.

Download this BDI Scoring Example:

Beck Depression Inventory Scoring Example

BDI Scoring Interpretation

The Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) is filled with 21 questions, each reflecting different aspects of depression; it allows individuals to express their feelings and experiences in a structured manner. However, understanding the scoring interpretation is vital to extract meaningful insights from this tool.

After the respondent completes the BDI, scores are assigned to each response based on severity, ranging from 0 to 3. These individual scores are then summed up to create a total score, which falls into one of four categories:

  • 0�??13: Minimal depression: This range suggests minor depressive symptoms, which might be a part of normal mood variations or transient reactions to life events.
  • 14�??19: Mild depression: Scores in this range may indicate the onset of a depressive episode or persistent subthreshold depressive symptoms. While not severe, these symptoms can still impact daily functioning and quality of life.
  • 20�??28: Moderate depression: This score range indicates the presence of several symptoms of depression, which are likely affecting the individual's daily activities substantially.
  • 29�??63: Severe depression: A score within this range signifies a high level of depressive symptoms, suggesting a severe depressive disorder. Individuals in this range may experience significant distress and functional impairment.

While the Beck Depression Inventory scoring interpretation provides valuable insights into the severity of depressive symptoms, it is crucial to remember that it does not diagnose depression. It serves as a screening tool that identifies potential depressive symptoms and their severity.

A high BDI score indicates a high level of depressive symptoms and should prompt further evaluation by a mental health professional. This could involve a comprehensive clinical interview, additional psychological testing, or both.

Understanding the Beck Depression Inventory scoring interpretation can help individuals and professionals identify, monitor, and manage depressive symptoms effectively. It's a step towards proactive mental health care and treatment planning.


The Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) is a highly respected tool in clinical and research settings, offering numerous benefits. Here's an in-depth look at the advantages it provides:

Widely Recognized and Researched

BDI enjoys global recognition and has been extensively researched, making it a trusted tool for assessing depressive symptoms.

Easy to Administer and Score

Its straightforward design makes the BDI easy to administer and score, facilitating its use by professionals and individuals.

Identifies and Measures Depressive Symptoms

BDI effectively identifies and quantifies the severity of depressive symptoms, aiding in understanding an individual's mental health status.

Monitors Changes Over Time

By using BDI repeatedly over time, one can monitor changes in depressive symptoms, providing valuable information about the progression or improvement of the condition.

Evaluates Treatment Effectiveness

BDI can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of different treatments or interventions for depression.

Multilingual and Validated in Diverse Populations

The availability of BDI in multiple languages and its validation in diverse populations enhances its accessibility and applicability worldwide.

Quick Completion Time

Typically, it takes about 10 minutes to complete the BDI, making it a quick yet efficient tool for assessing depressive symptoms.

Covers a Wide Range of Symptoms

BDI covers a wide range of depressive symptoms, ensuring a comprehensive assessment of the individual's condition.

Cost-Effective Screening Tool

BDI is a cost-effective screening tool, making it accessible to a broad audience, including those with limited resources.

Self-Administered or Administered by Professionals

The flexibility of BDI allows it to be self-administered or administered by a trained health professional, catering to varying needs and circumstances.

Aids in Clinical Research

BDI is often used in clinical research and studies related to depression, contributing to advancing knowledge in this field.

Useful for Epidemiological Studies

The BDI is a valuable tool for epidemiological studies, helping researchers understand the prevalence of depressive symptoms in a population.

At Carepatron, we have free Beck Depression Inventory scorings online, making it even more accessible for those who wish to assess their mental health status.

Research & Evidence

The Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) is an acclaimed tool in psychology and mental health, with a rich history and a robust body of research supporting its use.

Historical Context

Developed in the 1960s by renowned psychiatrist Dr. Aaron T. Beck, the BDI was one of the first self-report inventories designed to measure the severity of depressive symptoms. Over the decades, it has undergone several revisions to enhance its reliability and validity. The current version, BDI-II, is updated to align with the diagnostic criteria for depressive disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV).

Empirical Evidence

Numerous studies have corroborated the reliability and validity of the BDI across diverse populations. It has effectively measured depression severity in adults, adolescents, psychiatric patients, medical patients, and the general population.

For instance, a study examining the sensitivity and specificity of the BDI-II in persons with traumatic brain injury highlighted its utility in this population. Another study validated its use among low-income, African-American suicide attempters, demonstrating its applicability across various demographic groups.

In a global survey exploring sleep disorders and depressive feelings, the BDI significantly identified depressive symptoms among individuals with sleep disorders. Similarly, it has been utilized to assess depressive mood in chronic heart failure patients, showing a strong correlation with other established scales like the Hamilton scale and MADRS.

Application in Epidemiological Studies

The BDI's usefulness extends beyond clinical settings into epidemiological research. For example, it was used to determine the prevalence of depression among students of a medical college in Karnataka, providing valuable data about mental health in this specific academic population.

The extensive body of research supporting the BDI underscores its value as a reliable, valid, and versatile tool for assessing depressive symptoms. Its ease of use, broad applicability, and strong empirical backing make it a staple in clinical practice and mental health research.

Why use Carepatron as your Beck Depression Inventory app?

Carepatron is an exceptional platform for administering the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), a widely recognized tool for measuring depressive symptoms. With its user-friendly interface, state-of-the-art security, and collaborative features, Carepatron offers a uniquely simple and secure way to manage BDI assessments.

  • Intuitive User Experience: At the heart of Carepatron's appeal is its commitment to delivering beautiful experiences. The platform has been designed with simplicity, making it easy for first-time users to administer the BDI, score responses, and interpret results. The efficient design minimizes the time spent learning to navigate the software, allowing you to focus more on what truly matters - assessing and monitoring mental health.
  • Track Progress Over Time: With Carepatron, tracking changes in BDI scores over time becomes seamless. This feature is invaluable in monitoring treatment progress and outcomes, providing real-time data that can inform clinical decisions and improve patient care.
  • Globally Compliant EHR: Carepatron meets worldwide security requirements, including HIPAA, GDPR, and HITRUST. This ensures that sensitive information, such as BDI scores and patient details, remains safe and secure. It's not just a Beck Depression Inventory app; it's a comprehensive, compliant Electronic Health Record (EHR) system that prioritizes data protection.
  • Built for Team Collaboration: Beyond individual use, Carepatron is designed for collaboration. It facilitates better sharing across your team, professional network, and clients �?? creating a virtual environment replicating the ease of everyone in the same room. This makes it an ideal platform for multi-disciplinary teams working together on mental health care.
  • Trusted Worldwide: Carepatron supports a global community of users, making it a trusted and reliable Beck Depression Inventory Software worldwide. Its commitment to delivering a beautiful and efficient user experience daily sets it apart as a premium choice for administering the BDI.

Carepatron combines simplicity, security, and collaboration to provide an optimal platform for managing BDI assessments. It's not just a tool but a comprehensive solution for mental health professionals worldwide. Try Carepatron today.

Practice Management Software


  • Kumar, G., Jain, A., & Hegde, S. (2012, January 1). Prevalence of depression and its associated factors using Beck Depression Inventory among students of a medical college in Karnataka. Indian Journal of Psychiatry; Medknow. 
  • Homaifar, B. Y., Brenner, L. A., Gutierrez, P. M., Harwood, J. F., Thompson, C., Filley, C. M., Kelly, J. P., & Adler, L. E. (2009, April 1). Sensitivity and Specificity of the Beck Depression Inventory-II in Persons With Traumatic Brain Injury. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation; Elsevier BV. 
  • Psychometric Properties of the Beck Depression Inventory�??II in low ... (n.d.). 
  • Vandeputte, M., & De Weerd, A. (2003, July 1). Sleep disorders and depressive feelings: a global survey with the Beck depression scale. Sleep Medicine; Elsevier BV. 
  • Lahlou�?�LaforǦt, K., Ledru, F., Niarra, R., & Consoli, S. M. (2015, September 1). Validity of Beck Depression Inventory for the assessment of depressive mood in chronic heart failure patients. Journal of Affective Disorders; Elsevier BV. 
Who typically scores a Beck Depression Inventory?
Who typically scores a Beck Depression Inventory?

Commonly asked questions

Who typically scores a Beck Depression Inventory?

The BDI is designed to be self-scored by the individual completing it, but a healthcare or mental health professional may also score it.

When is a Beck Depression Inventory Scored?

The BDI can be scored at any time after the individual has completed it. It's usually scored during or immediately following a clinical or research assessment.

How is Beck Depression Inventory Scoring used?

BDI scoring is used to measure the severity of depressive symptoms, track changes in symptoms over time, and evaluate the effectiveness of treatment.

How can a Beck Depression Inventory Score help?

A BDI score can help identify individuals who may be experiencing significant depressive symptoms and need further assessment or treatment. It can also help monitor changes in depressive symptoms over time, which can inform treatment planning and adjustment.

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