On the Factor Structure of the Beck Depression Inventory–II: G Is the Key

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The Beck Depression Inventory–II (BDI–II; Beck, Steer, & Brown, 1996) is intended to measure severity of depression, and because items represent a broad range of depressive symptoms, some multidimensionality exists. In recent factor-analytic studies, there has been a debate about whether the BDI–II can be considered as one scale or whether subscales should be distinguished. In the present study, we applied a bifactor model to evaluate the extent to which scores reflect a single variable in a large sample of 1,530 clinical outpatients. We found that total scale score variation reflected some multidimensionality, but not enough to justify the scoring of subscales. We conclude that the BDI–II total scale score reflects a single construct and that reporting and interpreting subscale scores may result in misleading conclusions.

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