Among the older adults, the screening for depressive symptoms is important because of the ubiquitous nature of mood problem in this population. Despite the low rates of diagnosable depression, depressive symptoms are relatively high with an estimate of 15 to 25 percent. These symptoms among the old are associated with decreased social functioning, poor quality of life, physical disability, cognitive impairment and suicide (Segal, et. al, 2008). A case study involving 64 adult women from independent living facilities was conducted by Jefferson, Powers and Pope (2000) and the report showed that the BDI-II had good internal consistency. Further reports involving a large population showed the same report. This showed how the BDI-II is reliable and valid.
In a study to examine the internal reliability, discriminative validity, convergent validity and factorial validity of BDI-II, 376 community-dwelling adults were involved. The participant’s level of depression at the end of the experiment was expected to be low because the sample used was convenient sample of community dwelling adults. The general outcome score showed a minimally depressed range of 82%, mild depression was 9%, moderate was 6% and 3% was on the severe depression range (Segal, et. al, 2008). However, there was a slight difference between the depression range in young and older adults with the older reporting lesser depression levels.
Internal consistency of the BDI-II
For the entire sample used in the experiment, the internal consistency was found to be good. The consistency among the young adults and the old were slightly different and the item were; loss of interest, energy and pleasure fort the young adults while that of the old adults were loss of pleasure, interest and sadness.
Cross-sectional age, gender and ethnicity effects
The scores by age showed that the score for the young adults were significantly different from that of the old adults. On the gender perspective however, the score for men was not significantly different from that of women and so was the ethnical scores between the Caucasians and bon-Caucasians (Segal, et. al, 2008). Generally, there were no significant cross-sectional effects on the BDI-II on age, gender and ethnicity.
Most of the studies were conducted with majority of Caucasian and middle class samples. Therefore, despite the studies showing that the BDI-II has moderately stable psychometric properties, little is known about the minority and the low-income samples since in all the studies, none included more than 15% African Americans (Grothe, et al, 2005). Since racial differences have been found to be important determiners of depression, it cannot be assumed that the findings on the Caucasians are representative of all the other races.
A study was carried out to examine the reliability and validity of the BDI-II on medical patients, African Americans and low-income earners. The participants were 220 of age between 20 and 80. From the study, it was noted that there was a strong evidence of the reliability and validity of the BDI-II on the sample used as it had on the Caucasian sample (Grothe, et al, 2005). The BDI-II demonstrated exceptional internal consistency regarding reliability.
Daniel L. Segal & Brian S. Cahill et. al (2008). Psychometric properties of the beck depression inventory-II among community dwelling older adults. Behavior Modification, 32(1).
Karen B. Grothe & Gareth R. Dutton (2005). Validation of the Beck Depression Inventory—II in A Low-Income African American Sample of Medical Outpatients. The American Psychological Association, 17(1110114).