Comparison of the Center for Epidemiology Studies Depression Scale and Beck Depression Inventory for Research with Latinas

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U.S. Latino farmworkers face multiple potential stressors. Research on the mental health status of this U.S. Latino subgroup has suggested high prevalence of stress, anxiety, and depressive symptoms when compared to other groups. Latina farmworkers may be at greater risk than their male counterparts for poor mental health because they confront many of the same stressors but may experience additional difficulties including domestic violence, taking on new roles and responsibilities on top of traditional ones, and being expected to maintain the health and integrity of their families at the expense of their own needs. Most of the research on Latino/Latina farmworker mental health has focused on identifying prevalence of mental health symptoms and the vulnerabilities that predict these symptoms. A variety of instruments with English and Spanish versions have been employed to measure depressive symptoms in U.S. Latinos. Two such instruments, the Center for Epidemiology Studies Depression Scale and the Beck Depression Inventory, are evaluated in this article to determine which is more valid, reliable, relevant, and useful for a proposed study on stress, social support, coping, and depression in U.S. Latina farmworkers and which is more congruent with the study's conceptual framework, Lazarus and Folkman's transactional model of stress, appraisal, and coping. Though each instrument is shown to have certain advantages over the other, neither is definitively judged to be more appropriate for this largely unexplored subgroup. What is proposed instead is to conduct a mixed methods study to further evaluate the potential applicability of each instrument.