Validity of the 12-item version of the General Health Questionnaire in detecting depression in the general population
2016 (English)In: Public Health, ISSN 0033-3506, E-ISSN 1476-5616, Vol. 136, 66-74 p.Article in journal (Refereed) PublishedText
Objectives: The 12-item version of the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) is frequently used to measure common mental disorder in public health surveys, but few population-based validations have been made. We validated the GHQ-12 against structured psychiatric interviews of depression using a population-based cohort in Stockholm, Sweden. Methods: We used a population-based cohort of 484 individuals in Stockholm, Sweden (participation rate 62%). All completed the GHQ-12 and a semi-structured psychiatric interview. Last month DSM-III-R symptoms were used to classify major and minor depression. Three scoring methods for GHQ-12 were assessed, the Standard, Likert and Corrected method. Discriminatory ability was assessed with area under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve. Results: A total of 9.5% had a major or minor depression. The area under the ROC curve was for the Standard method 0.73 (0.65-0.82), the Likert method 0.80 (0.72-0.87) and the Corrected method 0.80 (0.73-0.87) when using major or minor depression as standard criterion. Adequate sensitivity and specificity for separating those with or without a depressive disorder was reached at >12 Likert scored points (80.4 and 69.6%) or >6 Corrected GHQ points (78.3 and 73.7%). Sensitivity and specificity was at >= 2 Standard scored points 67.4% and 74.2%. Conclusion: When scored using the Likert and Corrected methods, the GHQ-12 performed excellently. When scored using the Standard method, performance was acceptable in detecting depressive disorder in the general population. The GHQ-12 appears to be a good proxy for depressive disorder when used in public health surveys.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 136, 66-74 p.
GHQ-12, Sensitivity and specificity, Area under the curve, Self-assessment, Depression, Anxiety
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-299861DOI: 10.1016/j.puhe.2016.03.005ISI: 000378906600009PubMedID: 27040911OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-299861DiVA: diva2:950247