Psychometric Evaluation of a Brief Depression Measure for Justice-Involved Youths: A Multigroup Comparison

Richard Dembo, Jessica Faber, Jennifer Cristiano, Ralph J. DiClemente, Julie M. Krupa, Jennifer Wareham, Asha Terminello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) is a widely used screening tool for depression among adults and children. However, the validity of the CES-D has yet to be established among justice-involved youths, a population known to have higher levels of depressive symptoms in comparison to samples of community adolescents. The current study examines the psychometric characteristics of the eight-item version of the CES-D among newly arrested youths. Data were obtained through a local health coach service project, designed to provide linkage to treatment for justice-involved youths who are drug involved, test positive for HIV or other STDs, or have high levels of depressive symptoms. A multigroup, confirmatory factor analysis of the depression symptoms for subgroups defined by gender/race self-identification was conducted to assess the psychometric characteristics of the CES-D among these newly arrested youths. Results produced statistical evidence in support of one factor in the eight-item depression data and a similar factor structure across the various gender/racial groups. Criterion-related validity of the depression factor was also explored. Findings support the usefulness of the eight-item CES-D for use among gender-diverse and ethnically diverse youths.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)146-155
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 4 2018


  • depression
  • health services for youths
  • juvenile justice
  • juvenile justice entry health services

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • General Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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