UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Exploring potential impact of Chinese ethnicity on the measurement of depression among adolescents using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale Song, Claire


BACKGROUND: Depression is one of the main public health challenges among Canadian adolescents. However, research suggests that Chinese adolescents in Canada may experience or express depressive symptoms differently compared to White adolescents, and this may influence the way Chinese adolescents answer items in the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D). Additionally, research suggests that gender and the strength of ethnic identity may influence the rate of depression among Chinese adolescents only, and how they report depressive symptoms. OBJECTIVE: This study aims to evaluate the measurement equivalence of the CES-D among Chinese and White adolescents living in Canada, and to conduct further investigation of the impact of strength of ethnic identity on responses to CES-D items among Chinese adolescents. METHOD: Data were collected from 961 high school students aged 13–17 years participating in the British Columbia Adolescent Substance Use Survey. The Ordinal Logistic Regression method was used to test for Differential Item Functioning (DIF) on items in the CES-D across Chinese and White adolescents. RESULTS: The initial set of DIF analyses identified non-uniform DIF in CES-D Item 7 between Chinese and White adolescents (χ² = 41.972, R²= 0.046). After controlling for gender and strength of ethnic identity, the results remained the same. In the second set of analyses, CES-D Item 8 demonstrated the statistically significant differential functioning in Chinese participants across different levels of ethnic identity, uniform DIF among Chinese adolescents (χ² = 10.779, R²= 0.044). Controlling for gender did not alter the results. CONCLUSION: The result of this study suggests that there may be a systematic difference in experience or expression of depression among Chinese adolescents. Specifically, CES-D Item 7 did not appear to discriminate the level of depression among Chinese adolescents. Additional research is needed to understand the complex process of DIF to replicate and investigate the process associated with detected DIF in this study.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International