GHQ-12 (General Health Questionnaire) — A Validated Psychiatric Screener to Quickly Identify Signs of Distress

Life Sciences, Clinical Trials, Healthcare, Fundamental Research, Digital Health,
  • Thursday, March 16, 2023

The General Health Questionnaire (GHQ) was designed to be a self-administered screening test aimed at detecting psychiatric disorders among respondents in community settings and non-psychiatric clinical settings, such as primary care or among general medical out-patients. It was designed to be easy to administer, acceptable to respondents, concise and objective in the sense that it did not require the person administering it to make subjective assessments about the respondent. It’s aimed at detecting those forms of psychiatric disorders which may have relevance to a patient’s presence in a medical clinic, so that its focus must be on psychological components of ill-health.

The original experimental work based on the GHQ sought to discover those features which distinguished psychiatric patients as a class from individuals in the community who considered themselves to be healthy. There are many ways in which psychiatric patients differ from one another, but a screening questionnaire need not be concerned with such distinctions. The GHQ is specifically concerned with the hinterland between psychological sickness and psychological health.


Since the questionnaire was designed to be useful in consulting settings it focuses on breaks in normal function, rather than lifelong traits. The questionnaire concerns itself with two major classes of phenomena: inability to continue to carry out one’s normal ‘healthy’ functions, and the appearance of new phenomena of a distressing nature. The test items were chosen so that they differentiate psychiatric patients as a class from non-cases as a class, and thus they are concentrated on the hinterland between the two classes rather than ranging along the whole continuum between normality and severe disturbance. Since the respondent is not asked how long he or she has experienced each symptom the GHQ therefore detects disorders of less than two weeks’ duration — none of which can be counted as ‘cases’ by the various research systems and most of which require symptoms to have been present for at least two weeks.

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Register for this webinar to learn how the General Health Questionnaire enables the psychiatric screening of individuals based on their distress levels.


Tom Roberts, PhD, Emergency Medicine Doctor

Tom Roberts, Emergency Medicine Doctor

Dr. Tom Roberts is an Academic Emergency Medicine Doctor based in the UK. He established the UK’s largest Emergency Medicine research network, funded by the Royal College of Emergency Medicine.

He has extensive research experience and publications in the field of distress, trauma and fatigue in frontline doctors. This research includes the use of self-administered research tools, including the General Health Questionnaire. His research has recruited almost 10,000 frontline doctors since 2018. He also has publications in the field of acute headache, E-scooter injuries and global health.

He continues to work as an Emergency Medicine Doctor in the Southwest of England. He is passionate about using his clinical work to improve care for all Emergency Care patients through research and the translation of this research into evidence-based care.

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Frédérique Boucher, Mapi Research Trust

Frédérique Boucher, Account Executive, Author Collaboration Unit, Mapi Research Trust

Frédérique Boucher joined the Author Collaboration Unit at Mapi Research Trust in April 2021. Frédérique establishes new collaborations with authors and copyright holders of Clinical Outcome Assessments and assists them with the daily management of their questionnaires. She manages European, Canadian, American and UK accounts including the management of the scales developed by GL Assessment. Prior to this, she worked for the past 15 years in the linguistic validation of COAs at Mapi/ICON Language Services. She obtained an MA in quadrilingual translation & interpreting, from Angers’ Catholic University.

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Who Should Attend?

  • Psychiatrists and Psychologists (both practicing clinicians and students)
  • QoL (Quality of Life) and Health Research project supervisors and administrators from pharmaceutical and biotech companies, universities, teaching hospitals, emergency services and the military
  • Medical Doctors/General Practitioners

What You Will Learn

Attendees will learn the following about General Health Questionnaire (GHQ) -12:

  • It is a validated psychiatric screening instrument for clinicians and researchers to distinguish psychiatric disorders among respondents in community settings and non-psychiatric clinical settings
  • It is available in many validated translations for use in multi-cultural environments
  • The GHQ-12 and its other versions are copyrighted and can be easily obtained and licensed via the ePROVIDETM platform from Mapi Research Trust

Xtalks Partner

Mapi Research Trust

Mapi Research Trust is a non-profit organization that promotes the use of Clinical Outcomes Assessments (COAs) in health research and practice and encourages exchanges of Patient-Centered Outcomes and COA information among academics, pharmaceutical companies, health care organizations and health authorities. With the web-based platform ePROVIDE™ that includes the databases PROQOLID™, PROLABELS™, and PROINSIGHT™, Mapi Research Trust has become the preeminent source of reliable, up-to-date and comprehensive information about COAs.

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