George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis
Center for Mental Health Services Research

CMHSR Measures Collection

General Health Questionnaire (GHQ)


AUTHORS: Goldberg, D. P. (1978)

Vieweg, B. W., & Hedlund, J. L. (1983). The General Health Questionnaire (GHQ): A comprehensive review. Journal of
    Operational Psychiatry, 14(2), 74-81.

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VARIABLES MEASURED: Potential psychiatry disorders

PURPOSES: To screen psychiatry disorders

The General Health Questionnaire (GHQ) self-report psychiatric screening instrument with a variety of forms range from 12 to 60.  The GHQ is developed from a pool of 140 items that are believed to cover all aspects of adjustments and "felt distress.  These concepts include: depression and unhappiness, anxiety and felt psychological disturbance, social impairment, and hypochondriasis.

The GHQ-28 is a scaled version using Likert scoring methods.
Factor analysis showed that the factors measured are: somatic symptoms, anxiety and insomnia, social dysfunction, and severe depression.  Other forms of the GHQ do not use Liker scale.

SUBJECTS: Respondents in community settings

ADMINISTRATION: Self-administrated

Respondents rate themselves on a four-point severity scale, according to how they have recently experienced each GHQ item: "better than usual"; 'same as usual"; 'worse than usual'; or 'much worse than usual.' Normally each item is scored either 'O' or 'l," depending on which severity choice is selected.  A total score is computed by adding the scores of each individual item.
The GHQ-28 is a scaled version.  Likert scoring method is used to assign values of 0, 1, 2, and 3 for item severity.
The cut-off scores are 11/12, 3/4, 4/5 for the GHQ-60, the GHQ-30, and the GHQ-28 respectively.

1. Split-half coefficient: r=.95 (the GHQ-60), .92 (the GHQ-30), .90 (the GHQ-20), and .83 (the GHQ-12) (Goldberg, 1972).

2. Test-retest coefficient: r=.85 (the GHQ-30) (Folstein, ), .90, .75, and .51 (the GHQ-60) (Goldberg, 1972,1978).

Current validity: In comparison with patients' overall clinical assessment, r=.70 to .83 (Goldberg, 1978).  In comparison with clinical ratings for two large group of general medical patients, r=.67 to .76 (the GHQ-28) (Goldberg & Hillier, 1979).

COMMENTS: This measure is in file.

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