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Beck Depression Inventory


The Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II) is an assessment that is crafted to isolate depressive symptoms by having test takers answer questions. The test itself is designed for ages 13 and up and has been commonly used in both private practices as well as in a medical settings. The BDI-II, unlike past versions of the BDI scale, asks the person to address the symptoms from the past 2 weeks instead of just 1, one to better align with the newer DSM.

Test Items and Format

The BDI-II test is a self-reporting test that is meant to help target depressive symptoms but is not meant to actually diagnose depression itself (Sundberg, 1987). According to a review of the BDI-II done by Sundberg (1987), the wording that is used in the test is clear and easy to understand for the targeted age range. The whole test is written at an elementary school reading level.

The test is built on a Likert scale, ranging from 0-3, which assesses how severe the symptoms of depression prevail. The test contains 21 questions, where all but two questions use the Likert scale for assessment. One question, 16, focuses on the fluctuations in the sleeping pattern of a person. The other concern, 18, concentrates on how the person’s appetite alternates (Smith, & Erford, 2001). The reason that these two particular questions are not on the same scale is due to the fact that there need to be more options than just a 0-3 scale. Instead, these two questions are on a 0-7 scale to better check the severity and are generally labeled as 0-3c.

In terms of scoring the BDI-II, the test focuses on a clinical interpretation of the scores. To score the test, the test is looked at through criterion-referenced procedures. The interpretation for the scores is as follows: 0-13 is minimal depression, 14-19 is mild depression, 20-28 is moderate depression, and 29-63 is severe depression (Beck, Brown, & Steer, 1996). To find the outcome of a person’s test, you take the sum of the 21 questions, based on the number they answered, and then compare it to the score guidelines. At this particular time, you can only score this scale by hand.

The directions and training that are needed to administer this test are very simple and straightforward. There is little to no training required to give or to score the test, which means that this test can be given by paraprofessionals in the psychological community and not just by trained therapists or psychologists. The only thing that requires a trained therapist or psychologist would be to actually score the test itself (Smith, & Erford, 2001).

One reason that this test is so commonly used is due to the fact that it is simple for the person taking the test as well as for the person who will score the test. Having the ability to evaluate how severely a patient is depressed in a simple and effective manner is something that can be very appealing. Another reason that the BDI-II is a popular test is due to the fact that it has been adapted from a tried and tested series of BDI tests before it. The ability to modify the test to be clearer, as well as to address the ever-changing criteria found in a DSM, is something that can be very useful. Having a simple 21-question test allows the patient to easily understand questions and to also answer questions in a more timely manner.

Something that could be found particularly helpful to a new user, is that the manual that you can purchase with the test itself clearly explains the development of the test itself. Another thing that is in the manual is a clear guide on how to administer and score the test, meaning that someone who has never seen the test before would be able to understand how to grade it. Another important aspect is the ability to learn how to orally administer the test to a person who has a hard time with reading comprehension.

One thing that has been brought up about the test is that it has been found to be hard to understand when in its Spanish format as well as for those people who have a low reading level. Another thing that can be seen as a negative for the BDI-II is that because it is a self-reporting test, it can lead to the overdiagnosis of depression. Something that has also been seen is that the research majorly revolved around the validity of the BDI-II is predominantly done in adults and among white people.

Fair and Appropriate Materials

Regarding the fairness of the BDI-II, Beck, Brown, & Steer (1989) stated that there could be distinctions identified between males and females with regard to the severity and the frequency of symptoms. Even though this had been stated in research done by Beck himself, there are not many other studies that focus on the difference between the sexes. It could be possible that this scale could lead to women reporting more depressive symptoms while men would not, but this can also be directed toward the social stigma that men must be tougher than females.

Though there are no listed racial or cultural differences listed in different reviews of the BDI-II, more research is found on the differences between different races and cultures than that of the sexes. Suggestions by the composers of the BDI-II indicate that due to the previous versions of the Beck Depression Inventory being generalizable across genders and cultures, the BDI-II should hold to the same standards while possibly taking the area that you are presenting the test into account (Beck, Brown, & Steer, 1989).

Another study to support the fact that the BDI-II can stay consistent between races, as well as gender, was done by Ames, Gatewood-Colwell, and Kaczmarek, (1989). The study focused on the difference between the scores and reliability of white and Mexican-American gerontic subjects. The study found that there was no major difference in the reliability of the test between either sexes or ethnicity. Ames, Gatewood-Colwell, and Kaczmarek (1989) found that their research supports the use of the BDI-II’s use among minorities as well as is reliable and valid for use across cultures.

Use of Technology

A study done by Schulenberg, Yutrzenka, and Stefan (2001) looked into the conventional and computerized versions that can be used for the BDI-II. The researchers stated that they had to take into account that the computer version could possibly negatively impact the scores by elevating them (Schulenberg, Yutrzenka, Stefan E. 2001). The study took 180 psychology university students, in the undergraduate program, split into groups of 45 students each. Each split was given the BDI-II twice, using different versions of the test for each group; meaning that one group could only take the computerized version while another group does one of each.

The researchers then asked the test takers to state their preference for taking the test and found that both versions were considered to be equal in terms of preference. Schulenberg, Yutrzenka, and Stefan’s (2001) research found that either way that the test is administered, that the validity of the test and the reliability hold true.

Synthesis of Findings

The BDI-II is a test that is meant to be used for ages 13 and up. Though the test is indicated for this age range, most research has been done on adults starting at college age. It has been stated that the BDI-II holds validity across races and genders, which means it can be believed that the same could be true for age differences. The test itself is made so that all people in the intended age range can understand the test and/or have the option to have a person give the test orally. The use of computer-based testing is something that is relatively new but can still be used for the intended age range of the BDI-II.

Conclusions and Recommendations

Because the BDI-II consists of 21 questions, the test can be easily administered in most practices or clinical settings. Since the test is short and written at an elementary school reading level, most people should be able to understand the questions. Also, since the test is shorter, it makes the scoring more manageable for the clinician. This test has and should continue to be used in a clinical setting and can be useful to help people that are possibly presenting with depressive symptoms reach out for further assistance. The test is available in Spanish as well as English, making the test more efficiently attainable to people with different ethnic backgrounds. People who use the test with those in the younger age range intended for the analysis should take the limited research that has been done into account before administering the test.

Major differences between behavioral and contingency leadership theories

The behavioral theory highlights the nature and complexity of the work that a leader handles. The behavioral theory tests the capacity of the leader to whether he is efficient enough to handle tasks or not. The contingency theory tests the impact of the load ad nature of the work on the leader, the effect on followers and the environment of the leader.

The behavioral theory assesses the whole organization by splitting the whole system into different compartments. Every component is assessed for the appropriate management framework. The contingency framework identifies the variables for appropriate leadership style in the given situation.

The behavioral theory of leadership attempt to find out the best leadership style for all situations while the contingency theory says that there is not any compatible leadership style for any situation. It focuses on the leaders, followers, and the situation.

The behavioral theory identifies the specific behavior of the leader and deal behavior as the best predictor for effective management. Behavioral theorists believe that the behavior of the leader is the predictor of leadership success. The main behaviors that are categorized in the behavioral assessment of the leader are two types. One is task oriented leader and the other people-oriented leader. Task-oriented leaders focus on the motivation of the staff along with the standard operating procedures. They will assess behavior in relevance to initiating, organizing tasks, and data collection. The people-oriented leaders pinpoint the interaction among people for motivation. The highlighted behavior under focus is encouraging the staff, observing, listening to concerns, and training of the staff members.

The contingency theory identifies and assesses the particular situation of the leader. The focus of this theory is the leader–led situation. It emphasizes that there is no particular leadership format for the leaders and there are different styles of leaders in different situations. The theory tests the leader-led situation through the assessment of tasks assigned, the behavior of the leader under pressure, the integrity of the system, and environmental influence. Furthermore, contingency theory says that a leader is dependent on the situation and he has to adjust accordingly.

Behavioral contribution to contingency theory

Behavioral theory contributes to the contingency theory because the leadership styles are used in the contingency leadership model. The element of behaviorism is involved in the application of contingency theory where the leadership is led by the person assessed on the basis of the behaviorism that he projects on the leadership post. Behavior is the style used in the behavioral framework which is also the base of the contingency leadership framework. The behavior would add to the organization in form of outcomes and thus, determinant of a successful leadership approach. Behavior and contingency are integrative in relevance.


Lussier RN, Achua christopher F. Contingency and behavioral theory. In: Leadership, Theory, Application and Skill Development. 5th ed. USA: Erin Joyner; 25.

Leadership Theories – In Chronological Order. Accessed February 23, 2018.

Behavioral Theories of Leadership. Accessed February 23, 2018.



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