Prediction of major depression and dysthymia from CES-D scores among ethnic minority adolescents

J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 1998 May;37(5):495-503. doi: 10.1097/00004583-199805000-00012.


Objective: The Native Hawaiian Mental Health Research Development Program is an epidemiological longitudinal study of adolescents residing in Hawaii. This article examines the utility of the Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression Scale (CES-D) for predicting DSM-III-R diagnoses of major depression (MD) and dysthymic disorder (DD) and investigates whether prediction differs by gender and ethnicity.

Method: Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children interviews were conducted with 556 adolescents randomly selected from among more than 7,000 students who had completed the CES-D.

Results: Six-month prevalence rates were as follows: MD = 8.5%, DD = 4.7%, either (MDDD) = 9.9%. Prevalence rates were significantly higher among females, but after CES-D scores were accounted for, gender no longer predicted depression in most analyses. When a cutoff score of 16 was used, classification accuracy was lower for Native Hawaiians than non-Hawaiians. However, after group differences in gender and grade level were accounted for, the predictive validity of the CES-D did not differ by ethnicity. CES-D factor 1 scores identified MD, DD, and MDDD about as well as the total score or all three factors together.

Conclusions: These results support the validity of the CES-D for screening for depression among adolescents of Native Hawaiian and other minority backgrounds.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / diagnosis*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / psychology
  • Dysthymic Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Dysthymic Disorder / psychology
  • Ethnicity / psychology*
  • Female
  • Hawaii
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Minority Groups / psychology*
  • Personality Inventory / statistics & numerical data*
  • Psychometrics
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sex Factors