The Beck Depression Inventory: Is it a suitable measure of depression for individuals with traumatic brain injury?

Martin Sliwinski, Wayne A. Gordon, Jennifer Bogdany

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Objective: This study examined the relationship between Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) scores and current diagnosis of depression, based on The Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Diagnosis (SCID). Design: Correlation. Setting: Community-based sample. Participants: 100 individuals with traumatic brain injury (TBI) participated in this study, 25 of whom were diagnosed as depressed and 75 as not depressed at the time of interview. Main Outcome Measures: BDI scores, number of symptoms reported on a symptom checklist and DSM-IV diagnosis of depression. Results: BDI symptoms correlated significantly with the SCID diagnosis of depression (r = .30) but were more strongly related (r = .67) to the number of non-depression-related problems reported, using the TIRR Symptom Checklist, a list of symptoms frequently found post TBI. The BDI had low sensitivity for discriminating depressed from nondepressed individuals (sensitivity = 36% when specificity was set at 80%). These results suggest that for individuals with TBI, high BDI scores may reflect hyperreactivity to post-TBI symptoms to a greater extent than clinical depression. Conclusions: Further study is needed to (1) understand the physiological, functional, and psychosocial factors that are associated with depression in individuals with TBI; (2) provide the basis for developing better measures of depression; and (3) understand how depression is experienced after TBI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)40-46
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Clinical Neurology


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