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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 29  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 126-130

Validity of the General Health Questionnaire as a screening tool for mental health disorders among secondary school students (Menoufia Governorate)

Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Menoufia University, Menoufia, Egypt

Correspondence Address:
Nasser EM Gebril
MBBCh, Alcawady Village, Ashmoun, Menoufia Governorate, 32511
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1110-2098.179002

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Objective The aim of this study was to assess the validity of the Arabic version of the 30-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-30) and the prevalence of psychiatric morbidity among the studied students in Menoufia governorate, Egypt. Background The GHQ was developed by Goldberg in the 1970s. It has been translated into many languages, and it is extensively used in different settings and different cultures. A Medline and an Egyptian literature search showed no study that validated the Arabic version of the GHQ-30 in primary healthcare in Egypt. Participants and methods A cross-sectional comparative study was carried out in 454 secondary school students in Ashmoun city, Menoufia governorate, Egypt. Socioeconomic standard application, Arabic version of the GHQ-30, and Structured Clinical Interview according to DSM-IV were administered to 454 students. Results Using the Structured Clinical Interview of DSM-IV for studied groups, the prevalence of psychiatric disorders was 16.7%. Anxiety disorders were the most common in the sample with an incidence of 10.3%, including phobia (3.7%), generalized anxiety disorder (3.3%), and obsessive compulsive disorder (3.3%). The incidence of depressive disorder was 4.8%, conduct disorder was 1.1%, and that of adjustment disorder was 0.4%. This study has shown that the Arabic version of GHQ-30 is a valid and useful screening instrument of psychiatric morbidity in a primary care setting in Egyptian patients. The best cutoff point was found to be 38 between sensitivity (77%) and specificity (78%). The principal component analysis with the varimax rotation of the Arabic version of GHQ-30 was found to contain four underlying factors. These factors were identified as psychological distress, self-esteem, daily life activities, and social relationships. Conclusion The Arabic version of GHQ-30 was found to have satisfactory internal consistency and construct validity, and it was a useful instrument for assessing the psychological well-being of secondary school students.

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