Background Recently, extensive research has been reported the higher rate of depression and anxiety among people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHAs) as compared to general population. However, no single study has been carried out to investigate whether this disparity is a real difference or it happens due to lack of measurement invariance. This study aims to assess the measurement invariance of the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI) and 10-item Centre for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CESD-10) questionnaires across PLWHAs and healthy individuals.
Methods One hundred and fifty PLWHAs and 500 healthy individuals filled out the Persian version of the BAI and CES-D10 questionnaires. Multi-group multiple-indicators multiple-causes model (MG-MIMIC) was used to assess measurement invariance across PLWHAs and healthy people.
Results Our findings revealed that PLWHAs and healthy individuals perceived the meaning of all the items in the BAI and CESD-10 questionnaires similarly. In addition, although depression scores were significantly higher in PLWHAs as opposed to healthy individuals, no significant difference was observed in anxiety scores of these two groups.
Conclusions The current study suggests that the BAI and CESD-10 are invariant measures across PLWHAs and CESD-10 which can be used for meaningful cross-group comparison. Therefore, in comparison to healthy individuals, higher depression scores of PLWHAs is a real difference. It is highly recommended that health professionals develop therapeutic interventions and psychological supports to promote the mental health of PLWHAs which alleviate their depressive symptoms.