Psychometric properties of the ces-d among black adolescents in public housing

Wenhua Lu, Michael A. Lindsey, Sireen Irsheid, Von Eugene Nebbitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) has not been fully validated as a depression screening scale among Black adolescents. This study examines the psychometric properties of the CES-D as applied to Black adolescents, seeking to understand the unique way in which Black adolescents express their depression symptoms. Method: We hypothesized that the expression and factor structure of depressive symptoms measured by CES-D would be different when applied to Black adolescents. Black adolescents (N = 782) ages 11–21 were recruited from 9 urban public housing developments in 4 large U.S. cities. Confirmatory factor analysis and exploratory structural equation modeling (ESEM) were used to compare the fit of competing models. Convergent validity of the CES-D was examined via associations with gender, age, and suicidal ideation in the ESEM model. Results: Instead of the original 4-factor structure of the CES-D, a 2-factor ESEM model demonstrated satisfactory fit to our data (CFI = 0.95, TLI = 0.93, RMSEA = 0.04). Compared with females, Black males were less likely to endorse positive affect items of the CES-D (r = -0.13, p < 0.01). Conclusions: Conceptualizations of depression among Black adolescents may differ from any other populations previously studied. Clinicians should assess the unique expression of depression among Black youth when developing treatment plans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)595-619
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of the Society for Social Work and Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017


  • Adolescent depression
  • Black adolescents
  • CES-D
  • Psychometric properties
  • Public housing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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