A comparison between the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and the self-rating version of the Montgomery Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS)

J Affect Disord. 2001 May;64(2-3):203-16. doi: 10.1016/s0165-0327(00)00242-1.


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.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / diagnosis*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / rehabilitation
  • Female
  • Hospitalization
  • Hospitals, Psychiatric
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Personality Disorders / diagnosis
  • Personality Disorders / psychology
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Self-Assessment*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*