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In order to compare estimates by one assessment scale across various cultures/ethnic groups, an important aspect that needs to be demonstrated is that its construct across these groups is invariant when measured using a similar and simultaneous approach (i.e., demonstrated cross-cultural measurement invariance). One of the methods for evaluating measurement invariance is testing for differential item functioning (DIF), which assesses whether different groups respond differently to particular items. The aim of this study was to evaluate the cross-cultural measurement invariance of the Revised Child Anxiety and Depression Scale (RCADS) in societies with different socioeconomic, cultural, and religious backgrounds.
The study was organised by the International Child Mental Health Study Group. Self-reported data were collected from adolescents residing in 11 countries: Brazil, Bulgaria, Croatia, Indonesia, Montenegro, Nigeria, Palestinian Territories, the Philippines, Portugal, Romania and Serbia. The multiple-indicators multiple-causes model was used to test the RCADS items for DIF across the countries.
Ten items exhibited DIF considering all cross-country comparisons. Only one or two items were flagged with DIF in the head-to-head comparisons, while there were three to five items flagged with DIF, when one country was compared with the others. Even with all cross-culturally non-invariant items removed from nine language versions tested, the original factor model representing six anxiety and depressive symptoms subscales was not significantly violated.
There is clear evidence that relatively small number of the RCADS items is non-invariant, especially when comparing two different cultural/ethnic groups, which indicates on its sound cross-cultural validity and suitability for cross-cultural comparisons in adolescent anxiety and depressive symptoms.
This study evaluated the measurement invariance of the strengths and difficulties questionnaire (SDQ) self-report among adolescents from seven different nations.
Data for 2367 adolescents, aged 13–18 years, from India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Serbia, Turkey, Bulgaria and Croatia were available for a series of factor analyses.
The five-factor model including original SDQ scales emotional symptoms, conduct problems, hyperactivity–inattention problems, peer problems and prosocial behaviour generated inadequate fit degree in all countries. A bifactor model with three factors (i.e., externalising, internalising and prosocial) and one general problem factor yielded adequate degree of fit in India, Nigeria, Turkey and Croatia. The prosocial behaviour, emotional symptoms and conduct problems factor were found to be common for all nations. However, originally proposed items loaded saliently on other factors besides the proposed ones or only some of them corresponded to proposed factors in all seven countries.
Due to the lack of a common acceptable model across all countries, namely the same numbers of factors (i.e., dimensional invariance), it was not possible to perform the metric and scalar invariance test, what indicates that the SDQ self-report models tested lack appropriate measurement invariance across adolescents from these seven nations and it needs to be revised for cross-country comparisons.
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