Major Depression Inventory

Use the Major Depression Inventory to gauge your patient’s symptoms of depression! Learn more about it through this guide.

By Matt Olivares on Apr 08, 2024.

Fact Checked by Ericka Pingol.

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What is Major Depressive Disorder?

Before we discuss the , let’s briefly discuss what Major Depressive Disorder is first.

When we refer to Major Depressive Disorder (or just Depression), we’re not referring to the temporary mood of being sad and upset about something. Everyone goes through that. What we’re referring to is the actual mental health condition where the person who has it experiences a long-lasting, persistent, and severe to extreme level of sadness, despair, and at least three other depression symptoms that negatively impact their daily functioning and overall well-being (because this can affect both their physical and mental health).

Other symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder can include the following:

  • They lack sleep or sleep more than usual
  • They have changes in their appetite, and they either gain or lose a lot of weight
  • They feel tired and don’t have the energy to do most things
  • They also lose interest or pleasure in doing most things, especially things they love doing
  • They tend to lose focus, demotivated, and may even become indecisive
  • They feel empty and/or worthless
  • They somehow feel guilty about something
  • They develop a tendency to isolate themselves
  • They have thoughts of self-harm/suicide

Reading the last symptom, you can already tell that Major Depressive Disorder can be dangerous, especially if left unchecked and unmanaged. It won’t just affect a person’s daily functioning and overall well-being but can also lead to self-harm/death.

If you’re dealing with a person who has signs of Major Depressive Disorder, or if you feel like you have it, it’s best to take self-report assessments and/or see a healthcare professional who specializes in assessing and treating this mental health condition.

An example of a self-report assessment for depression is the Major Depression Inventory.

Printable Major Depression Inventory

Download this Major Depression Inventory to assess clients for depression symptoms.

How to use the Major Depression Inventory

How the Major Depression Inventory will be used will depend on the person using it. Since this is a self-report, non-healthcare professionals can use this to gauge their depression symptoms. They can download a copy or grab a printed version available in their healthcare facility (if the inventory is available there).

They can answer it whenever they want and submit it to a healthcare professional during an appointment. What they shouldn’t do is to self-diagnose themselves because depression is a complex mental health condition. A single assessment is not enough to diagnose a person with depression. Other assessments need to be used, and factors such as a person’s biology, genetics, and environments they’re usually in must be considered.

As for healthcare professionals, they can hand this to their patients to answer independently, or they can administer the inventory like an interview and have their patients select their answers accordingly. Conducting an interview using the inventory will take longer to accomplish. Still, this format grants professionals the chance to have their patients expound on their answers, giving them more information about the potential depression their patients have.

The inventory has “How much of the time…” as its primary phrase, and the following questions complete the sentence:

  • Have you felt in low spirits or sad?
  • Have you lost interest in your daily activities?
  • Have you felt lacking in energy and strength? 
  • Have you felt less self-confident? 
  • Have you had a bad conscience or feelings of guilt? 
  • Have you felt that life wasn't worth living? 
  • Have you had difficulty concentrating (e.g., when reading the newspaper or watching television)?
  • Have you felt very restless? / Have you felt subdued?
  • Have you had trouble sleeping at night?
  • Have you suffered from reduced appetite? / Have you suffered from increased appetite?

The inventory has preset answers to choose from:

  • All of the time = 5 points
  • Most of the time = 4 points
  • More than half of the time = 3 points
  • Less than half of the time = 2 points
  • Some of the time = 1 point
  • At no time = 0 points

To interpret the findings of this inventory, you just need to take note of the following:

  • 20 to 24 = Mild Depression
  • 25 to 29 = Moderate Depression
  • 30+ = Severe Depression

Please use other assessments and then cross-check all the results and information gathered through discussions with the patient with the criteria for Major Depressive Disorder set by the latest edition of The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

Major Depression Inventory Example

Now that you know the basic gist of Major Depressive Disorder and what the Major Depression Inventory is, it’s time to see what the inventory looks like. 

We added two things to the original scale. The first is a radio button to tick your patient’s or your answers with a pen (if you’re using a printed version) or by clicking on them (if you’re using the PDF version). The second is an additional comments box. The latter is only for healthcare professionals to write down notes, just in case they could get their patients to expand on their answers. This should be a good note-taking feature when cross-checking information with the latest DSM.

If you like what you see and believe this will help you understand the potential severity level of the potential depression you have, or if this will help you assess your patients better for depression symptoms, then feel free to download our free Major Depression Inventory PDF template!

Download this Major Depression Inventory Example:

Major Depression Inventory Example

When is it best to use the Major Depression Inventory?

This will depend on who is using it. If you’re a non-professional, you can use the Major Depression Inventory whenever you want to gauge your symptoms. It’s a self-report assessment, after all, so if you’ve had symptoms of depression for at least two weeks and they don’t seem like they’re going away anytime soon, then by all means, download our template for the Major Depression Inventory and answer the questionnaire.

Remember not to self-diagnose if your score falls on the aforementioned score ranges and designations. If you get a score that falls on the depression designations, please see a professional so they can conduct a comprehensive assessment and make an official diagnosis.

If you’re a healthcare professional, the best time to use the inventory would be when a patient attends a scheduled appointment they set with you to discuss depression. It’s best to explain to them what the Major Depression Inventory is for because they have the right to know what assessments or tests they must take. If they consent to be tested using assessments, you can use the inventory and whatever else you have for gauging depression symptoms. Note that the inventory on its own is not enough to diagnose a person with depression, so we highly recommend using other assessments.

What are the benefits of using the Major Depression Inventory?

It’s an inexpensive and easy tool to use.

The Major Depression Inventory is a nifty assessment tool in your roster of clinical resources because it doesn’t require anything special to be used. You only need a copy of the latest edition of The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders when you cross-check the inventory results and the results of other assessments with the manual’s criteria for depression.

You can also choose to print copies for your practice, or you can just use the PDF template we made since it has tickable radio buttons. It can also be accomplished in just a few minutes since there are only ten items (twelve, to be more accurate since Items 8 and 10 have two questions).

It can help address depression early.

Let’s stipulate that you’re a non-healthcare professional who stumbled upon this guide while searching for a way to gauge your potential depression. If you’ve been bothered by the thought or feeling of being depressed because you have been experiencing depression symptoms,  you should use this assessment to assess yourself. If the results point toward you possibly having depression, see a professional to get checked and diagnosed accordingly as soon as possible. If you are diagnosed with depression early, you will have a good chance of managing it before it worsens.

It can be used as a monitoring tool.

Whether you’re a non-professional or a healthcare professional who uses the Major Depression Inventory, the assessment can be used as a monitoring tool. Let’s stipulate that you were diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder or you diagnosed a patient with it. You can reuse this test from time to time to check if there are any changes in depression symptoms over time, especially if a treatment plan was created and implemented. If the scores are lower than the first time the assessment was used, it’s safe to assume that the MDD is being managed well and you or your patient is improving. It’s also safe to assume that the treatment plan is working. If the scores are the same or higher, then perhaps adjustments to the treatment plan need to be made.

How long does it take to accomplish the inventory?
How long does it take to accomplish the inventory?

Commonly asked questions

How long does it take to accomplish the inventory?

It can be accomplished within five minutes.

Is it difficult to accomplish the inventory?

There shouldn’t be any difficulty since the person using it simply needs to choose from a set of answers.

Why can’t this be the sole basis for a depression diagnosis?

Because depression is a complex mental health condition, a single assessment may not be enough to properly assess a person, so it’s best to use other assessments to cover more ground.

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