Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 55–68 | Cite as

Low-end specificity of the Beck Depression Inventory

  • Thomas E. JoinerJr.
  • Kristen L. Schmidt
  • Gerald I. Metalsky


Selection of nondysphoric control subjects on the basis of low Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) scores has become a methodological issue in depression research. Therefore, we examined these questions: (1) Do current selection criteria result in a nondysphoric control group, a subsample of which is characterized by denial, psychopathic, or hypomanic tendencies? (2) Is there an identifiable subgroup of low scorers in which tendencies toward denial, psychopathy, or hypomania are particularly salient? Undergraduates completed the BDI and Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI). As predicted, the proportion of subjects who were elevated on MMPI validity scales was higher in the low-end sample than in dysphorics, and higher in very low scorers than in other low-end subjects. Low-end subjects did not score higher than other subjects on MMPI Psychopathic Deviate (MMPI-Pd) and MMPI Hypomania (MMPI-Ma) subscales. Suggestions for obviating problems associated with low-end specificity are offered.

Key Words

low-end specificity denial dysphoria nondysphoric controls 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas E. JoinerJr.
    • 3
  • Kristen L. Schmidt
    • 1
  • Gerald I. Metalsky
    • 2
  1. 1.University of Texas at AustinAustinUSA
  2. 2.Lawrence UniversityLawrenceUSA
  3. 3.Psychiatry, D-25University of Texas Medical Branch at GalvestonGalveston

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