Differential item functioning due to gender between depression and anxiety items among Chilean adolescents
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Citation (published version)Cristina Bares, Fernando Andrade, Jorge Delva, Andrew Grogan-Kaylor, Akihito Kamata. 2012. "Differential item functioning due to gender between depression and anxiety items among Chilean adolescents." INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SOCIAL PSYCHIATRY, v. 58, Issue 4, pp. 386 - 392 (7). https://doi.org/10.1177/0020764011400999
Although much is known about the higher prevalence of anxiety and depressive disorders among adolescent females, less is known about the differential item endorsement due to gender in items of commonly scales used to measure anxiety and depression. We conducted a study to examine if adolescent males and females from Chile differed on how they endorsed the items of the Youth Self-Report (YSR) anxious/depressed problem scale. We used data from a cross-sectional sample consisting of 925 participants (Mean age = 14, SD=1.3, 49% females) of low to lower-middle socioeconomic status. A two-parameter logistic (2PL) IRT DIF model was fit. Results revealed differential item endorsement (DIF) by gender for six of the 13 items with adolescent females being more likely to endorse a depression item while males were found more likely to endorse anxiety items. Findings suggest that items found in commonly utilized measures of anxiety and depression symptoms may not equally capture true levels of these behavioral problems among adolescent males and females. Given the high levels of mental disorders in Chile and surrounding countries, further attention should be focused on increasing the number of empirical studies examining potential gender differences in the assessment of mental health problems among Latin American populations to better aid our understanding of the phenomenology and determinants of these problems in the region.