Factor Structure of the CES-D and Measurement Invariance Across Gender in Mainland Chinese Adolescents


  • This study is supported by grants from the National Key Technologies R&D Program in the 11th 5-year plan of China (Grant No. 2009BAI77B02) and partly by a grant (in part) from Guangdong Province, philosophy and social sciences “Second Five” planning project (Grant No. GD11CXL03) and partly by the 12th 5-year plan of educational sciences of Hunan province, (grant no. XJK011BXL002).

Please address correspondence to: Shuqiao Yao, Medical Psychological Institute, Second Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, #139 Ren-Min Zhong Road, Changsha, 410011, China. E-mail: Shuqiaoyao@163.com



The primary aim was to examine the depressive symptom structure of Mainland China adolescents using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES–D).


Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) were simultaneously conducted to determine the structure of the CES-D in a large scale, representative adolescent samples recruited from Mainland China. Multigroup CFA (N = 5059, 48% boys, mean = 16.55±1.06) was utilized to test the factorial invariance of the depressive symptom structure, which was generated by EFA and confirmed by CFA across gender.


The CES-D can be interpreted in terms of 3 symptom dimensions. Additionally, factorial invariance of the new proposed model across gender was supported at all assuming different degrees of invariance.


Mainland Chinese adolescents have specific depressive symptom structure, which is consistent across gender.