Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 15, Issue 6, pp 773–788 | Cite as

A Confirmatory Comparison of the Factor Structure of the Children's Depression Inventory between European American and African American Youth

  • Ric G. Steele
  • Todd D. Little
  • Stephen S. Ilardi
  • Rex Forehand
  • Gene H. Brody
  • Heather L. Hunter
Original Paper


We examined the factor structure of the Children's Depression Inventory (CDI) among a sample of 523 African American children (m age = 12.76) and a sample of 564 European American youth (m age = 12.43). Previous investigations have produced discrepant factor structures among samples of predominantly majority-culture children, but fewer investigations of the factor structure of the CDI have been conducted among non-European American samples. Confirmatory factor analyses of the original 5 factors identified by Kovacs (1983, 1991) revealed that the items had invariant measurement properties across the samples. The latent factor structure, however, revealed telling differences between the two samples. For European American youth, only one of the original five factors was meaningfully differentiated from the others, whereas for the African American youth, two of the factors clearly emerged as unique facets of depression. Consistent with other reports, between-group mean differences on the CDI and its factors were noted. We argue that further validation of the CDI among traditionally underserved populations is warranted. Predictive validation investigations, in particular, are needed to examine the relationship between CDI factor scores and clinical outcomes.


CDI Depression African American Confirmatory factor analysis Racial differences 



This research was supported, in part, by the William T. Grant Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Atlanta, GA.), and by NICHD core grant HD002528 and NIDCD core grant DC005803, both of which provide partial support for the Research, Design and Analysis unit at the Institute for Life Span Studies, University of Kansas. The authors are grateful to Dr. Michael Finger, for assistance with various manuscript drafts and to Drs. Edward Morse and Patricia Simon-Morse for their roles in data collection.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ric G. Steele
    • 1
  • Todd D. Little
    • 2
  • Stephen S. Ilardi
    • 3
  • Rex Forehand
    • 4
  • Gene H. Brody
    • 5
  • Heather L. Hunter
    • 3
  1. 1.Clinical Child Psychology Program2011 Dole Center for Human Development, University of KansasLawrenceUSA
  2. 2.Research Design and Analysis UnitSchiefelbusch Institute for Life Span Studies; University of KansasLawrenceUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of KansasLawrenceUSA
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyUniversity of VermontBurlingtonUSA
  5. 5.Department of Child and Family DevelopmentUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA

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