Factor analytic studies of the Beck Depression Inventory routinely yield a small number of factors that parsimoniously summarize the 21 items of the inventory. To improve the utility of such factor data within clinical or applied research settings, the present study aimed to develop a set of empirically derived depression indices based on the factor structure of the Beck Depression Inventory. In Study 1, principal-axis factor analysis of the responses of 303 undergraduate students yielded a 2-factor solution that accounted for 33% of the common variance. Easily calculated factor indices were developed to reflect individual performance on each factor, and normative data from the sample were used to establish preliminary guidelines for evaluating severity on each index. In Study 2, analyses of the factor-index scores obtained from a clinical sample of 55 medical patients supported the utility of the index scores for discriminating among various aspects of dysphoric experience.
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