The validity of the Beck Depression Inventory as a screening and diagnostic instrument for depression in patients with Parkinson's disease

Mov Disord. 2000 Nov;15(6):1221-4. doi: 10.1002/1531-8257(200011)15:6<1221::aid-mds1024>;2-h.


Purpose: To evaluate the validity of the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) as a screening and diagnostic scale for depression in Parkinson's disease (PD).

Patients and methods: Fifty-three nondemented patients with PD were diagnosed according to a standardized protocol consisting of the depression module of the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM axis I disorders (SCID) and the BDI. A "receiver operating characteristics" (ROC) curve was obtained and the sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values (PPV and NPV, respectively) were calculated for different cut-off points of the BDI.

Results: Maximum discrimination was obtained with a cut-off score of 13/14. High sensitivity and NPV were obtained with cut-off scores of 8/9 or lower; a high specificity and PPV were obtained with cut-off scores of 16/17 or higher. The area under the ROC curve was 85.67%.

Conclusion: A single cut-off score on the BDI to distinguish nondepressed from depressed patients with PD is not feasible. If one accepts the low specificity, then the BDI can be used as a valid screening instrument for depression in PD with a cut-off of 8/9. With a cut-off score of 16/17, it can be used as a diagnostic scale, at the cost of a low sensitivity. The use of diagnostic criteria for depression remains necessary.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Depression / diagnosis*
  • Depression / etiology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / methods
  • Middle Aged
  • Parkinson Disease / complications
  • Parkinson Disease / psychology*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales / standards*
  • Psychometrics
  • ROC Curve
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity