Successful Validation of the CAT-MH Scales in a Sample of Latin American Migrants in the United States and Spain

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Abstract

We examined cultural differences in the item characteristic functions of self-reported of symptoms of depression, anxiety, and mania−hypomania in a Latino population taking Computerized Adaptive Tests for Mental Health (CAT-MH) in Spanish versus a non-Latino sample taking the tests in English. We studied differential item functioning (DIF) of the most common adaptively administered symptom items out of a bank of 1,008 items between Latino (n = 1276) and non-Latino (n = 798) subjects. For depression, we identified 4 items with DIF that were good discriminators for non-Latinos but poor discriminators for Latinos. These items were related to cheerfulness, life satisfaction, concentration, and fatigue. The correlation between the original calibration and a Latino-only new calibration after eliminating these items was r = .990. For anxiety, no items with DIF were identified. The correlation between the original and new calibrations was r = .993. For mania−hypomania, we identified 4 items with differential item functioning that were good discriminators for non-Latinos but poor discriminators for Latinos. These items were related to risk-taking, self-assurance, and sexual activity. The correlation between the original and new calibration was r = .962. Once the identified items were removed, the correlation between the original calibration and a Latino-only calibration was r = .96 or greater. These findings reveal that the CAT-MH can be reliably used to measure depression, anxiety, and mania in Latinos taking these tests in Spanish.

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