General Health Questionnaire (GHQ)

Developed in the 1970s, the General Health Questionnaire is a method to quantify the risk of developing psychiatric disorders. This instrument targets two areas – the inability to carry out normal functions and the appearance of distress – to assess well-being in a person.

The format of the full GHQ is 60-item test with a four-point scale for each response.  The test exits in several alternate forms:  GHQ-30 (30 items), GHQ-28 (28-items), GHQ-12 (12 items).

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Sir David Goldberg and Paul Williams (1970)

Validity and Reliability

The reported Cronbach alpha coefficient for the GHQ is a range of 0.82 to 0.86.  The instrument is considered as reliable and has been translated into 38 different languages.  When correlated with the global quality of life scale, the GHQ showed negative correlation.  This demonstrates the inverse relationship with an increase in distress leading to a decrease in quality of life.

Obtaining the General Health Questionnaire

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Administration, Analysis and Reporting

Statistics Solutions consists of a team of professional methodologists and statisticians that can assist the student or professional researcher in administering the survey instrument, collecting the data, conducting the analyses and explaining the results.

For additional information on these services, click here.


Goldberg, D. P., & Blackwell, B. (1970). Psychiatric illness in general practice: A detailed study using a new method of case identification. British Medical Journal, 1, 439-443.

Golderberg, D., & Williams, P. (1988). A user’s guide to the General Health Questionnaire. Windsor, UK: NFER-Nelson.

Jackson, C. (2007). The General Health Questionnaire. Occupational Medicine 57, 79. doi:10.1093/occmed/kql169.

Heun, R., Muller, H., Freyberger, H. J., & Maier, W. (1988). Reliability of interview information in a family study in the elderly. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 33,140–144.

Quek, K. F., Low, W. Y., Razack, A. H., & Loh, C. S. (2001). Reliability and validity of the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) among urological patients: A Malaysian study. Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, 55, 509–513.