The structure of the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12): two meta-analytic factor analyses

Autor(en): Gnambs, Timo
Staufenbiel, Thomas 
Stichwörter: BIFACTOR MODELS; distress; factor analysis; INVARIANCE; Mental health; meta-analysis; NUMBER; Psychology; Psychology, Clinical; PSYCHOMETRIC PROPERTIES; RELIABILITY; ROTATION; SAMPLE; VALIDITY; VERSION; wording effects
Erscheinungsdatum: 2018
Herausgeber: ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD
Journal: HEALTH PSYCHOLOGY REVIEW
Volumen: 12
Ausgabe: 2
Startseite: 179
Seitenende: 194
Zusammenfassung: 
The General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) is a popular measure of psychological distress. Despite its widespread use, an ongoing controversy pertains to its internal structure. Although the GHQ-12 was originally constructed to capture a unitary construct, empirical studies identified different factor structures. Therefore, this study examined the dimensionality of the GHQ-12 in two independent meta-analyses. The first meta-analysis used summary data published in 38 primary studies (total N=76,473). Meta-analytic exploratory factor analyses identified two factors formed by negatively and positively worded items. The second meta-analysis included individual responses of 410,640 participants from 84 independent samples. Meta-analytic confirmatory factor analyses corroborated the two-dimensional structure of the GHQ-12. However, bifactor modelling showed that most of the variance was explained by a general factor. Therefore, subscale scores reflected rather limited unique variance. Overall, the two meta-analyses demonstrated that the GHQ-12 is essentially unidimensional. It is not recommended to use and interpret subscale scores because they primarily reflect general mental health rather than distinct constructs.
ISSN: 17437199
DOI: 10.1080/17437199.2018.1426484

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