Psychometric properties and factor structure of the General Health Questionnaire as a screening tool for anxiety and depressive symptoms in a multi-national study of young adults

Bizu Gelaye, Mahlet G Tadesse, Vitool Lohsoonthorn, Somrat Lertmeharit, Wipawan C Pensuksan, Sixto E Sanchez, Seblewengel Lemma, Yemane Berhane, Juan Carlos Vélez, Clarita Barbosa, Asterio Anderade, Michelle A Williams
Journal of Affective Disorders 2015 November 15, 187: 197-202

BACKGROUND: Globally, common psychiatric disorders such as depression and anxiety are among the leading causes of morbidity and mortality. The 12-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) is a widely used questionnaire for screening or detecting common psychiatric disorders. The purpose of this study was to examine the reliability, construct validity and factor structure of the GHQ-12 in a large sample of African, Asian and South American young adults.

METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 9077 undergraduate students from Chile, Ethiopia, Peru and Thailand. Students aged 18-35 years were invited to complete a self-administered questionnaire that collected information about lifestyle, demographics, and GHQ-12. In each country, the construct validity and factorial structures of the GHQ-12 questionnaire were tested through exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses (EFA and CFA).

RESULTS: Overall the GHQ-12 items showed good internal consistency across all countries as reflected by the Cronbach's alpha: Chile (0.86), Ethiopia (0.83), Peru (0.85), and Thailand (0.82). Results from EFA showed that the GHQ-12 had a two-factor solution in Chile, Ethiopia and Thailand, although a three-factor solution was found in Peru. These findings were corroborated by CFA. Indicators of goodness of fit, comparative fit index (CFI), root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA), and standardized root mean squared residual, were all in acceptable ranges across study sites. The CFI values for Chile, Ethiopia, Peru and Thailand were 0.964, 0.951, 0.949, and 0.931, respectively. The corresponding RMSEA values were 0.051, 0.050, 0.059, and 0.059.

CONCLUSION: Overall, we documented cross-cultural comparability of the GHQ-12 for assessing common psychiatric disorders such as symptoms of depressive and anxiety disorders among young adults. Although the GHQ-12 is typically used as single-factor questionnaire, the results of our EFA and CFA revealed the multi- dimensionality of the scale. Future studies are needed to further evaluate the specific cut points for assessing each component within the multiple factors.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Trending Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"