Background: The Beck Depression Inventory BDI is the most often used self-rating instrument for depressive symptoms. In the present study, the BDI was compared with a self-rating version of the Montgomery Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS-S) in 86 psychiatric patients with mainly affective and anxiety disorders.
Methods: The patients were interviewed with the SCID-I Interview for a DSM-IV Major depression, and self-assessed the BDI and the MADRS. They were rated to have either mild, moderate or severe depressive symptomatology. After recovery, criteria for DSM-IV Personality disorders were self-assessed.
Results: The instruments were about equal in differentiating between different Axis-I diagnoses and did not differ according to sensitivity to change during antidepressive treatment. Although the scales were highly intercorrelated (r=0.869), the BDI was demonstrated to tap more maladaptive personality traits compared to the MADRS-S.
Limitations: Because the sample consisted of psychiatric patients with prominent psychiatric symptomatology, the discriminative power of the BDI and the MADRS-S should be further evaluated in a sample with milder symptoms.
Conclusions: The MADRS-S is equivalent to the BDI as a self-assessment instrument for depression, but the MADRS-S focuses on core depressive symptoms, and is less influenced by maladaptive personality traits.