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Comparisons of CES-D depression scoring methods in two older adults ethnic groups. The emergence of an ethnic-specific brief three-item CES-D scale


Correspondence to: Eugen Iordache, E-mail:



To compare the reliabilities and convergent validities of five CES-D (Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression) composite scores in two ethnic/racial groups of community-dwelling older adults.


CES-D measurement equivalence was tested with Structural Equation Modeling in Puerto-Rican (PR) and African American (AA) older adults, then reliabilities of five composite scores and their convergent validities were compared.


Bayesian CES-D scores had the highest reliabilities, followed by software estimated factor scores, the unit weight, and the weighted scores. Bayesian CES-D scores, factor scores, and surprisingly a group-specific three-item brief CES-D score exhibited better convergent validity than the unit-weight and weighted CES-D scores.


An ethnic group-specific three-item brief CES-D score emerged as a reliable CES-D measure in PR and AA older adults. We conclude that practitioners could emphasize three main symptoms in individual older adults in screening for depression, and researchers can model with confidence the relationships between the CES-D brief scale and its correlates. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.