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Measures > Measure Information
The Beck Anxiety Inventory
General Information
Measure Name: The Beck Anxiety Inventory
Measure Type:
Construct: Anxiety
Primary Content Area: Mental Health
Secondary Content Area: Stress
Brief Description: The BAI is a patient-completed 21-item measure in which 14 items cover somatic symptoms and seven reflect subjective aspects of anxiety or panic. The items were drawn from three of Beck's earlier instruments, the Anxiety Checklist, the Physician's Desk Reference checklist, and the Situational Anxiety Checklist (4, p894). The items were chosen to measure symptoms specific to anxiety and unrelated to depression; they were also intended to measure general symptoms, rather than anxiety due to specific disorders such as phobias or panic disorders (5). After initial item analyses, the 21-item version was established (4). The BAI may be self-administered or may be administered and scored by an interviewer with appropriate training, but Beck et al. stressed that the interpretation of scores should be undertaken by a clinician able to bear in mind the implications of comorbid conditions or suicidal ideation (6). Administration instructions are given in the manual (6). The BAI takes five to ten minutes to complete (6;7). The respondent rates how much he or she has been bothered by each symptom of anxiety over the past week (including the day of testing) on a four-point intensity scale: 0 (Not at all), 1 (Mildly-it did not bother me much), 2 (Moderately-it was very unpleasant but I could stand it) to 3 (Severely-I could barely stand it). A total score is the sum of the item scores; somatic and subjective sub-scores are sometimes used (8). Overall scores of 0 and nine points are interpreted as normal anxiety; ten to 18 represent mild-to-moderate anxiety; 19 to 29 indicate moderate-to-severe anxiety, and scores of 30 to 63 indicate severe anxiety (6, p5). Slightly different cut-points were givein by Steer and Beck who cited 0-7 as indicating minimal anxiety; eight to 15 as mild; 16 to 25 as moderate anxiety, and 26 to 63 as severe anxiety (7, p36). Recnet changes to copyright have prevented reproduction of the scale here, but the items are shown in Beck's article in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 1988, vol. 56, page 895 (Table 1), as well as in references (9-13) listed below. Copies of the scale are availabe through Harcourt (
Target Population: Adults and adolescents
Mode of Administration: Who Administered: Self-Administered, Researcher
How Administered:
Measure Characteristics
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(Last Updated: 4/27/2011 2:29:52 PM by Rick Moser)

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