Objectives: Our objective was to examine the Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II) in a traumatic brain injury (TBI) sample using a receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve to determine how well the BDI-II identifies depression. An ROC curve allows for analysis of the sensitivity and specificity of a diagnostic test using various cutoff points to determine the number of true positives, true negatives, false positives, and false negatives.
Design: This was a secondary analysis of data gathered from an observational study. We examined BDI-II scores in a sample of 52 veterans with remote histories of TBI.
Setting: This study was completed at a Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center.
Participants: Participants were veterans eligible to receive VA health care services.
Interventions: Not applicable.
Main outcome measures: Outcome measures included the BDI-II and the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis I Disorders (SCID-IV).
Results: We generated an ROC curve to determine how well the BDI-II identifies depression using the SCID-IV as the criterion standard for diagnosing depression, defined here as a diagnosis of major depressive disorder. Results indicated a cutoff score of at least 19 if one has a mild TBI or at least 35 if one has a moderate or severe TBI. These scores maximize sensitivity (87%) and specificity (79%).
Conclusions: Clinicians working with persons with TBI can use the BDI-II to determine whether depressive symptoms warrant further assessment.