Evaluating the Eight-Item Patient Health Questionnaire’s Psychometric Properties With Mexican and Central American Descent University Students

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Abstract

Depression can be a serious aliment influencing the lives of millions of persons. Person’s health conditions worsen and daily functioning declines in the presence of depression. However, little attention has been given to how depression is accurately assessed in diverse populations from other countries residing in the United States. Thus, this study examined the factor structure, factorial invariance, concurrent validity, and convergent validity of the widely used 8-item Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-8) among emerging adults of Mexican and Central American (e.g., Salvadorians, Guatemalans) men and women residing in the United States. Undergraduate student participants (n = 2,782) completed an online or paper-and-pencil version of the assessment. Support was found for two-factor and one-factor solutions; however, the unidimensional structure was recommended due to the very high correlation between the two factors (r ≥ .87). The unidimensional scale was invariant between (a) Mexican and Central American descent and (b) men and women. Depressive symptoms (as measured in the PHQ-8) were significantly correlated with another valid and reliable measured of depression, and scores on the PHQ-8 were significantly correlated with theoretically related variables (i.e., quality of life, parental support, and perceived stress).

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