uu.seUppsala University Publications
Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Validity of the 12-item version of the General Health Questionnaire in detecting depression in the general population
Stockholm Cty Council, Ctr Epidemiol & Community Med, Stockholm, Sweden.;Karolinska Inst, Dept Publ Hlth Sci, Stockholm, Sweden..
Karolinska Inst, Dept Publ Hlth Sci, Stockholm, Sweden..
Stockholm Cty Council, Acad Primary Hlth Care Ctr, Stockholm, Sweden.;Karolinska Inst, Dept Neurobiol Care Sci & Soc, Stockholm, Sweden..
Swedish Council Higher Educ, Stockholm, Sweden..
Show others and affiliations
2016 (English)In: Public Health, ISSN 0033-3506, E-ISSN 1476-5616, Vol. 136, 66-74 p.Article in journal (Refereed) PublishedText
Abstract [en]

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.
Keyword [en]
GHQ-12, Sensitivity and specificity, Area under the curve, Self-assessment, Depression, Anxiety
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-299861DOI: 10.1016/j.puhe.2016.03.005ISI: 000378906600009PubMedID: 27040911OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-299861DiVA: diva2:950247
Available from: 2016-07-28 Created: 2016-07-28 Last updated: 2016-07-28Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text

Other links

Publisher's full textPubMed

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Torgén, Margareta
By organisation
Occupational and Environmental Medicine
In the same journal
Public Health
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Altmetric score

Total: 21 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link