The behavioral activation for depression scale-short form: development and validation

Behav Ther. 2011 Dec;42(4):726-39. doi: 10.1016/j.beth.2011.04.004. Epub 2011 Jun 1.


Following a landmark component analysis of cognitive therapy by Jacobson and colleagues (1996), there has been renewed interest in behavioral activation (BA) treatments for depression. The Behavioral Activation for Depression Scale (BADS) was developed to measure when and how clients become activated over the course of BA treatment. Multiple studies have provided initial support for the BADS but have also identified several potential problems. Four studies were conducted in order to develop and provide initial evaluation of a short form of the BADS that addresses these concerns. In Study 1, an exploratory factor analysis was conducted on existing data using the original BADS in order to identify items to retain for the short form. In Study 2, these items were administered to a new sample of college students with elevated depressive symptoms and were analyzed with exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses. Study 3 examined the predictive validity of the BADS-SF by examining the BADS-SF and depression scores in relation to activity tracking and reward-value ratings over the course of 1 week. Study 4 examined BADS-SF data over the course of BA treatment for two clients using cross-lagged panel correlations. With one client, changes in BADS-SF scores led changes in depression scores by 1 week, whereas with the other client changes in BADS-SF and depression scores occurred concurrently. These studies resulted in a nine-item scale that demonstrated good item characteristics as well as acceptable internal consistency reliability, construct validity, and predictive validity.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Behavior Therapy / methods*
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Psychometrics
  • Reproducibility of Results