An Arabic Translation, Reliability, and Validation of Patient Health Questionnaire in a Saudi Sample

Ann Gen Psychiatry. 2017 Sep 6;16:32. doi: 10.1186/s12991-017-0155-1. eCollection 2017.


Background: Psychological disorders including depression and anxiety are not rare in primary care clinics. The Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ) is a clinical diagnostic tool that is widely utilized by primary health care physicians worldwide because it provides a practical in-clinic tool to screen for psychological disorders. This study evaluated the validity of the Arabic version of the PHQ in all six modules including depression, anxiety, somatic, panic, eating, and alcohol abuse disorders.

Methods: This is a quantitative observational cross-sectional study that was conducted by administrating the translated Arabic version of PHQ to a sample of King Saud University students in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Results: The sample was 731 university students who participated in this study including 376 (51.6%) females and 354 (48.4%) males with a mean age of 21.30 years. Eight mental health experts carried out the face validation process of the PHQ Arabic version. The internal consistency reliability was measured using Cronbach's alpha for the PHQ9, GAD7, PHQ15, and panic disorder modules. The results were 0.857, 0.763, 0.826, and 0.696, respectively. In comparison, the eating disorders and alcohol abuse modules demonstrated poor internal consistency due to small number of participants in these modules.

Conclusion: This study demonstrates that the Arabic version of the PHQ is a valid and reliable tool to screen for depression, anxiety, somatic, and panic disorders in a Saudi sample.

Keywords: Arabic; PHQ; Patient Health Questionnaire; Saudi Arabia; Validation.