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Scand J Public Health. 2009 Jan;37(1):28-34. doi: 10.1177/1403494808097169.

Usefulness of the Beck Depression Inventory as a screening method for depression among the general population of Finland.

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La Princesa University Hospital, Department of Psychiatry, Madrid, Spain.



The present paper studies the effectiveness of the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) as a screening measure for depression in a general population sample from Finland.


The study analysed the Finnish sample of the ODIN study, a multicentre epidemiology study of depression in Europe. From this general population sample, 311 subjects were selected according to their score on the BDI within a larger assessment that included a structured diagnostic interview. Of these, 31.2% were diagnosed with major depression.


A cut-off score of 17/18 simultaneously maximized both sensitivity and specificity in the Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) curve analysis, with an Area Under the Curve (AUC) of 0.806. Similar results were found across gender, and the AUCs were not significantly different between men and women.


The results cannot be directly generalized to institutionalized persons, people in clinical settings, or those with range of ages not included in the present study.


The Beck Depression Inventory is a valid instrument for the diagnosis of depression among the general population of Finland. As a screening measure, the optimal cut-off score would be 17 or higher.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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