Correlates of depression among youth in California. Findings from the 2003 California Health Interview Survey 2003

Rafael T Mikolajczyk, Maren Bredehorst, Nadia Khelaifat, Claudia Maier, Annette E Maxwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


Background: The prevalence of depression is increasing not only among adults, but also among adolescents.
Several risk factors for depression in youth have been identified, including female gender, increasing age, lower
socio-economic status, and Latino ethnic background. The literature is divided regarding the role of acculturation
as risk factor among Latino youth. We analyzed the correlates of depressive symptoms among Latino and Non-
Latino White adolescents residing in California with a special focus on acculturation.
Methods: We performed an analysis of the adolescent sample of the 2003 California Health Interview Survey,
which included 3,196 telephone-interviews with Latino and Non-Latino White adolescents between the ages of
12 and 17. Depressive symptomatology was measured with a reduced version of the Center for Epidemiologic
Studies Depression Scale. Acculturation was measured by a score based on language in which the interview was
conducted, language(s) spoken at home, place of birth, number of years lived in the United States, and citizenship
status of the adolescent and both of his/her parents, using canonical principal component analysis. Other variables
used in the analysis were: support provided by adults at school and at home, age of the adolescent, gender, socioeconomic
status, and household type (two parent or one parent household).
Results: Unadjusted analysis suggested that the risk of depressive symptoms was twice as high among Latinos as
compared to Non-Latino Whites (10.5% versus 5.5 %, p < 0.001). The risk was slightly higher in the low
acculturation group than in the high acculturation group (13.1% versus 9.7%, p = 0.12). Similarly, low acculturation
was associated with an increased risk of depressive symptoms in multivariate analysis within the Latino subsample
(OR 1.54, CI 0.97–2.44, p = 0.07). Latino ethnicity emerged as risk factor for depressive symptoms among the
strata with higher income and high support at home and at school. In the disadvantaged subgroups (higher
poverty, low support at home and at school) Non-Latino Whites and Latinos had a similar risk of depressive
Conclusion: Our findings suggest that the differences in depressive symptoms between Non-Latino Whites and
Latino adolescents disappear at least in some strata after adjusting for socio-demographic and social support
Original languageEnglish
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 21 Feb 2007


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