Screening for major depression disorders in medical inpatients with the Beck Depression Inventory for Primary Care

Behav Res Ther. 1997 Aug;35(8):785-91. doi: 10.1016/s0005-7967(97)00025-9.


To ascertain how effective the Beck Depression Inventory for Primary Care (BDI-PC) was for differentiating medical inpatients who were and were not diagnosed with DSM-IV major depression disorders (MDD), this 7-item self-report instrument composed of cognitive and affective symptoms was administered to 50 medical inpatients along with the Depression subscale (HDS) from the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (Zigmond & Snaith, 1983, Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 67, 361-370). The Mood Module from the Primary Care Evaluation of Mental Disorders (Spitzer et al., 1995, Prime-MD instruction manual updated for DSM-IV) was used to diagnose MDD. The internal consistency of the BDI-PC was high (alpha = 0.86), and it was moderately correlated with the HDS (r = 0.62, P < 0.001). The BDI-PC was not significantly correlated with sex, age, ethnicity, or type of medical diagnosis. A BDI-PC cut-off score of 4 and above yielded the maximum clinical efficiency with both 82% sensitivity and specificity rates. The clinical utility of the BDI-PC for identifying medical inpatients who should be evaluated for MDD is discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Hospitals, General / methods
  • Humans
  • Inpatients / psychology*
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales / standards*
  • Psychometrics / methods
  • Psychometrics / standards*
  • ROC Curve
  • Reproducibility of Results