Depression in first generation labour migrants in Western Europe: The utility of the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D)

J. Spijker, Frits B. van der Wurff, E. C. Poort, C. H.M. Smits, A. P. Verhoeff, A. T.F. Beekman

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Objective. The number of elderly migrants from Turkish and Moroccan descent in Western Europe will increase sharply in the coming decades. Identifying depressed elderly migrants necessitates a screening instrument that is both acceptable and has good psychometric properties. This study examines the utility of Turkish and Arabic translations of the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) among elderly labour migrants from Turkish and Moroccan descent in the Netherlands. Method. The data were derived from a community based health survey among 304 native Dutch, 330 Turkish and 299 Moroccan migrants, aged 55-74 years, living in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Acceptability, reliability, convergent and construct validity were studied. Results. Acceptability of the CES-D was satisfactory, although Moroccan migrants and Turkish females had difficulty answering one or more of the (interpersonal) items from the CES-D. Translated versions of the CES-D proved to be highly internal consistent and have good convergent validity in both Turkish and Moroccan elderly. Depressed and somatic items were much more intermingled in Turkish and Moroccan elderly compared to earlier studies and native Dutch elderly. This fits to the hypothesis that Turkish and Moroccan elderly migrants tend to somatize their depressive symptoms much more than native Western elderly. Conclusion. The utility of the CES-D for elderly migrants of Turkish and Moroccan descent was found to be satisfactory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)538-544
Number of pages7
JournalInternational journal of geriatric psychiatry
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2004


  • CES-D
  • Elderly
  • Ethnic differences
  • Psychometric properties

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