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Psychiatry Res. 2004 Apr 30;126(2):177-87.

Factorial invariance of the CES-D in low socioeconomic status African Americans compared with a nationally representative sample.

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Cognition Section, Laboratory of Personality and Cognition, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Gerontology Research Center, 5600 Nathan Shock Drive, Baltimore, MD 21224, USA.


This study examined the factor structure of the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) in low socioeconomic status African Americans (n=426). Confirmatory factor analysis indicated that the four factors-(1) depressed affect, (2) positive affect, (3) somatic complaints, and (4) interpersonal problems-of the CES-D scale previously found in the general population were supported in this sample. These results were cross-validated in other nationally representative samples of African-American participants (n=988) and Caucasians (n=666), and the four-factor structure of the CES-D scale replicated in all three groups in this study. An alternative model was also tested with the factors depressed affect and somatic complaints combined as a single factor, a finding often reported in minority groups. Results indicated a significantly poorer fit for the three-factor model compared with the four-factor model for all three groups. In addition, higher loading differences were significantly evident between African-American and Caucasian groups, while higher loading similarities were found between the two African-American groups. These findings provide further evidence of measurement equivalency of the CES-D scale in samples with differential characteristics including race and socioeconomic status.

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