Psychological Medicine

Short Communication

BRIEF COMMUNICATION The Validation of the 12-item General Health Questionnaire among ethnic Indian women living in the United Kingdom

K. S. JACOB a1 , D. BHUGRA a1 and A. H. MANN a1
a1 Institute of Psychiatry, London


Background. The General Health Questionnaire (GHQ) has been validated in different languages and cultures and in diverse settings. However, the validity of the 12-item version, increasingly used for screening for psychiatric morbidity in primary care, has not been established among ethnic Indians living in the United Kingdom.

Methods. The GHQ-12 was used to screen for psychiatric morbidity in a study of patterns of consultation and explanatory models of mental illness in a general practice in West London. All individuals who scored 2 or more and an equal number of individuals who scored 0 or 1 were interviewed using the Revised Clinical Interview Schedule (CIS-R) to confirm psychiatric morbidity. Hindi versions of the both these instruments were also employed. Thresholds of GHQ were compared against the standard of the CIS-R using the recommended threshold of 12 and above as indicating caseness. A receiver operator characteristic curve was drawn to obtain the best threshold value for screening.

Results. The optimal threshold for screening as assessed by receiver operator characteristic analysis was 2/3. This threshold had a sensitivity of 96·7% and a specificity of 90%.

Conclusions. The sensitivity and specificity of the 12-item General Health Questionnaire among women of ethnic Indian origin living in the United Kingdom is high. It can be employed as a screening instrument to identify individuals with psychiatric morbidity in this population.


Address for correspondence: Dr, K. S. Jacob, Section of Epidemiology and General Practice, Institute of Psychiatry, Denmark Hill, London SE5 8AF.