Depressive Symptoms in People with and without Alcohol Abuse: Factor Structure and Measurement Invariance of the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-II) Across Groups

This study explored differences in the factor structure of depressive symptoms in patients with and without alcohol abuse, and differences in the severity of depressive symptoms between the two groups.


In a sample of 358 patients without alcohol problems and 167 patients with comorbid alcohol problems, confirmatory factor analysis revealed that the same factor structures, Beck et al.'s two-factor Somatic Affective-Cognitive (SA-C) model, and Buckley et al.'s three-factor Cognitive-Affective- Somatic (C-A-S) model, demonstrated the best fit to the data in both groups. The SA-C model was preferred due to its more parsimonious nature. Evidence for strict measurement invariance across the two groups for the SA-C model was found. MIMIC (multiple-indicator-multiple-cause) modeling showed that the level of depressive symptoms was found to be highest on both factors in the group with comorbid alcohol problems. The magnitude of the differences in latent mean scores suggested a moderate difference in the level of depressive symptoms between the two groups. It is argued that patients with comorbid depression and alcohol abuse should be offered parallel and adequate treatment for both conditions.

PLoS ONE, 2014 9 (2), doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0088321

Published May 5, 2014 8:30 AM