Use of the Beck Depression Inventory for Primary Care to screen for major depression disorders

Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 1999 Mar-Apr;21(2):106-11. doi: 10.1016/s0163-8343(98)00070-x.


To ascertain how effective the Beck Depression Inventory for Primary Care (BDI-PC) was in screening for DSM-IV major depression disorders (MDD) in outpatients who were scheduled for routine office visits with physicians specializing in internal medicine, the BDI-PC was administered to 60 male and 60 female outpatients. The internal consistency of the BDI-PC was high (alpha 0.85), and the Mood Module from the Primary Care Evaluation of Mental Disorders was used to diagnose MDD. The BDI-PC scores were not significantly correlated with sex, age, ethnicity, or total number of medical diagnoses. A BDI-PC cutoff score of 4 and above yielded 98% maximum clinical efficiency with 97% (95% CI 82%-99%) sensitivity and 99% (95% CI 94%-99%) specificity rates, respectively, for identifying patients with and without MDD. The BDI-PC is discussed as an effective case-finding instrument for screening primary care patients for MDD.

MeSH terms

  • Bayes Theorem
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Diagnostic Tests, Routine / standards
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Internal Medicine / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New Jersey / epidemiology
  • Primary Health Care / methods*
  • Primary Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales / standards*
  • Psychometrics / standards*
  • ROC Curve
  • Reference Values
  • Sample Size
  • Sampling Studies