Implications of Using the Beck Depression Inventory in Cardiac Rehabilitation

Student: Elizabeth McLean*
Mentor: Wendy Bjerke
Major: Exercise Science

PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of a cardiac rehabilitation program on depression levels as determined by use of the Beck Depression Inventory. The consistency of responses and response trends among patients assessed using of the Beck Depression Inventory as a measurement tool was also considered.

METHODS: Data from 2013-2014 was previously collected at Griffin Hospital in Derby, CT. Participants included 181 patients enrolled in the cardiac rehabilitation program, and of those patients, 91 individuals completed a Beck Depression Inventory before and after the program.

RESULTS: There was a significant decrease in depression rating scores between initial testing (M=5.51, SD=6.37) and final testing (M=3.82, SD=5.04) conditions; t(91)=-3.84  , p= .000. The average percent change was a 29% decrease in depression scores. Data showed, however, that 21/91 patients, (~23%), noted an increase in depression levels at the end of the program. The average increase in depression levels for these individuals was 286%. Qualitative assessment was conducted to gain an understanding of this sub group via interviews.

CONCLUSION: The Beck Depression Inventory has been validated by many researchers; however it may not be the most suitable tool for measuring mood disorders in cardiac rehabilitation patients at baseline compared to the end of the program given that unfamiliarity with staff and the program may be a factor confounding the results in a sub group of patients. Although there was an overall decrease in depression levels for the majority of patients, those who noted an increase in depression following the program may have been affected by the following reasons: low level of trust between patient and clinician at time of test administration, the absence of anonymity, the name of the questionnaire itself, and the lack of multiple assessment periods.

*Honors Senior