An examination of the cross-ethnic equivalence of measures of negative life events and mental health among Hispanic and Anglo-American children

George P. Knight, Lynn M. Virdin, Katheryn A. Ocampo, Mark Roosa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

62 Scopus citations


Recently there has been concern over the need for mental health research within ethnic minority populations, particularly Hispanic populations. Although there has been research focusing upon the similarity of mental health problems among Hispanic and Anglo-American samples, the absence of information regarding the cross-ethnic measurement equivalence of the assessment tools used in these comparisons seriously limits the interpretability of these findings. The two reported studies were designed to (a) examine the cross-ethnic functional and scalar equivalence of several mental health measures by examining the interrelations of these mental health indicators and examining the regression equations using negative life events to predict mental health outcomes; and (b) compare several mental health indicators among Hispanic and Anglo-American 8- to 14-year-old children. Findings suggest considerable cross-ethnic functional and scalar equivalence for the measure of depression, conduct disorders, and negative life events. In addition, findings indicate that the Hispanic children scored higher in depression than did the Anglo-American children, but this difference could be a function of differences in SES. The reader is cautioned that the present samples included only English-speaking and primarily Mexican American children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)767-783
Number of pages17
JournalAmerican journal of community psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 1994



  • ethnic minorities
  • mental health
  • negative life events

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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