Here's what the UNIX man page on stat has to say about the difference between a file change and a file modification:
st_mtime Time when data was last modified. Changed by the following functions: creat(), mknod(), pipe(), utime(), and write(2).
st_ctime Time when file status was last changed. Changed by the following functions: chmod(), chown(), creat(), link(2), mknod(), pipe(), unlink(2), utime(), and write().
So a modification is a change in the data, whereas a change also happens if you modify file permissions and so on.