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Wording Effects And The Factor Structure Of The 12-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12).

J. G. Molina, M. F. Rodrigo, J. Losilla, J. Vives
Published 2014 · Psychology, Medicine

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The 12-item version of the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) has become a popular screening instrument with which to measure general psychological health in different settings. Previous studies into the factorial structure of the GHQ-12 have mainly supported multifactor solutions, and only a few recent works have shown that the GHQ-12 was best represented by a single substantive factor when method effects associated with negatively worded items were considered. Confirmatory factor analysis was applied to compare competing measurement models from previous research, including correlated traits-correlated methods and correlated traits-correlated uniquenesses approaches, to obtain further evidence about the factorial structure of the GHQ-12. This goal was achieved with data from 3,050 participants who completed the GHQ-12 included in the Catalonian Survey of Working Conditions (Catalonian Labor Relations and Quality of Work Department, 2012). The results showed additional evidence that the GHQ-12 has a unidimensional structure after controlling for method effects associated with negatively worded items. Furthermore, we found evidence for our hypothesis about the spurious nature of the 3-factor solution in Graetz's (1991) model after comparing its fit with that found for alternative models resulting from different combinations of the negatively worded items. An implication of our results is that future research about the factor structure of the GHQ-12 should take method effects associated with negative wording into account in order to avoid reaching inaccurate conclusions about its dimensionality.
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