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J Psychosom Res. 2012 Sep;73(3):157-62. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2012.07.001. Epub 2012 Jul 23.

Symptoms of heart disease or its treatment may increase Beck Depression Inventory Scores in hospitalized post-myocardial infarction patients.

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  • 1Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology, McGill University, Montréal, Québec, Canada.



The Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) is one of the most commonly used self-report depression symptom questionnaires in medical settings. The revised BDI-II was developed in 1996, partially due to concerns about the influence of somatic symptoms from medical illness on BDI scores. The BDI, however, continues to be frequently used in medical settings. The objective of this study was to examine the degree to which somatic symptom items influence BDI scores among hospitalized post-myocardial infarction (MI) patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) compared to psychiatry outpatients with MDD matched on cognitive/affective scores, sex, and age.


Somatic scores of post-MI patients with MDD and matched psychiatry outpatients with MDD were compared using independent samples t-tests.


A total of 579 post-MI patients with MDD (mean age=54.4 years, SD=9.9) and 579 psychiatry outpatients with MDD (mean age=51.2 years, SD=9.7) were matched on cognitive/affective scores, sex, and age. Somatic symptoms accounted for 47% of BDI total scores among post-MI patients (mean total=22.6, SD=8.8) versus 37% among psychiatry outpatients (mean total=19.2, SD=9.7). Somatic scores of post-MI patients were 3.4 points higher than for matched psychiatry outpatients (95% confidence interval 3.0 to 3.9; p<.001), a difference that is equivalent to 15% of total post-MI patient scores.


BDI scores of hospitalized post-MI patients with MDD may, in part, reflect symptoms of the acute medical condition or its treatment, rather than depression. The BDI-II was designed to reduce the influence of somatic symptoms on total scores and may be preferable to the 'BDI among heart disease patients.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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