Mental health research with Latino farmworkers: a systematic evaluation of the short CES-D.
ABSTRACT Mental health research among Latino farmworkers is hampered by the absence of measurement evaluation that ensures farmworkers understand and can consistently and appropriately respond to questions about mental health. Cross-sectional data were obtained from 409 farmworkers via interviewer-administered survey questionnaires. Mental health was operationalized with the short-form Center for Epidemiologic Studies, Depression (CES-D) scale. The structured interviewer-administered survey questionnaires included measures to capture personal and work-related factors that could affect farmworkers' ability to understand and respond to mental health questions probed by the CES-D. Good variability in item response was observed across the 10 short-form CES-D items. There was no evidence of differential response across sub-groups of farmworkers for six of the 10 items. Responses to four of the 10 items differed by educational attainment, country of origin, and language preference. Overall, the internal consistency of the 10 items exceeded standard conventions, and observed differences in depressive symptoms were as expected. Researchers in farmworker mental health must remain attentive to the strength and validity of available measures for migrants, different ethnic groups and different socioeconomic backgrounds. Nevertheless, the overall pattern suggests that the CES-D is a viable tool for advancing farmworker mental health research.