Validation of the Arabic versions of the thirty- and twelve-item General Health Questionnaires in primary care patients

Br J Psychiatry. 1996 Nov;169(5):662-4. doi: 10.1192/bjp.169.5.662.


Background: The aim of this study was to investigate the validity of the Arabic versions of the GHQ-30 and GHQ-12 in a sample of primary health care (PHC) patients in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates.

Method: A randomly selected sample (n = 157) of patients attending a PHC centre in Al Ain was screened using the Arabic version of the GHQ-30, the first 12 items of which constitute the GHQ-12. Then a standardised clinical interview using the Clinical Interview Schedule (CIS) was conducted with all screened patients. The receiver operating characteristic analyses of the Arabic versions of both GHQ-30 and GHQ-12 were compared and their correlation coefficients with the weighted total score of the CIS and the overall severity rate were estimated. Discriminant functional analysis was also performed to assess the discriminatory powers of both the GHQ-30 and GHQ-12.

Results: Using the simple Likert scoring method, the best cut-off point of the GHQ-30, that balances between sensitivity and specificity, was 31/32 with a sensitivity of 0.83 and specificity of 0.83, and that of the GHQ-12 was 12/13 with a sensitivity of 0.83 and specificity 0.80. The total discriminatory powers of the GHQ-30 and GHQ-12 were approximately 93 and 86%, respectively. Both versions of the GHQ were found to have a significant concurrent validity.

Conclusion: The Arabic versions of both GHQ-30 and GHQ-12 are valid psychiatric screening instruments, with almost similar performance, for Arabic-speaking PHC patients.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Language*
  • Male
  • Mass Screening
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Patient Care Team*
  • Personality Inventory / statistics & numerical data*
  • Primary Health Care
  • Psychometrics
  • ROC Curve
  • United Arab Emirates / epidemiology