This latest edition to the Beck mental health scale family builds on 40 years of psychometric data and clinical experience. It is a 7-item self report, case-finding instrument that screens for depression in adolescents and adults.
It consists of items extracted from the BDI®-II and measures the severity of depression that corresponds to the psychological non-somatic criteria for diagnosing Major Depressive Disorders (MDD) as listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 4th Edition (DSM-IV).
It addresses the concerns of clinicians who have questioned whether the inclusion of 8 somatic and performance symptoms in the BDI scale might be yielding spuriously high estimates for the prevalence of depression in patients with medical problems due to symptom overlap.
Therefore, the BDI®-Fastscreen was constructed to reduce the number of false positives for depression in patients with known biological, medical or alcohol/substance abuse problems.
It should not however be considered as a substitute for the 21-item BDI®-II, especially in estimating the severity of depression in patients who have already been clinically diagnosed for MDD in medical populations in which the underlying prevalence of MDD ranges from 5 to 40%.