General Health Questionnaire (GHQ)

A self-report screening tool used to assess for a variety of current mental disturbances. The questionnaire was originally developed as a 60-item tool (GHQ-60), but has since been revised into shorter versions—GHQ-30, GHQ-28, GHQ-20, and GHQ-12. All versions of the questionnaire ask about a respondent’s current behavior and functioning abilities, and if there have been any recent changes in either. The GHQ-60 contains all original questions, which focus on both physical and mental disturbances; the GHQ-30 excludes questions about somatic symptoms; the GHQ-28 inquires about severe depression (7 items), somatic symptoms (7 items), social dysfunction (7 items), and anxiety/insomnia (7 items); and the shortest version, the GHQ-12, facilitates a rapid screening (about 2 minutes) for various mental disturbances. The GHQ-28 allows for scoring of each domain of disturbance, as well as an overall score. The GHQ-60, GHQ-28 and GHQ-12 only produce total scores. The questionnaires’ response options are on a 4-point scale—Better/Healthier than Normal, Same as Usual, Worse/More than Usual, Much Worse/More than Usual—and can be scored according to a variety of scale values—GHQ (0-0-1-1), Likert (0-1-2-3), Modified Likert (0-0-1-2), and C-GHQ (0-0-1-1 or 0-1-1-1). The tool takes from 2-10 minutes to administer, depending on the version chosen.

Related Publications

Singh, B., & Raphael, B. (1981). Postdisaster morbidity of the bereaved: A possible role for preventive psychiatry? The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 169(4), 203-212.

De Jong, J. P., Scholte, W. F., Koeter, M. W., & Hart, A. A. (2000). The prevalence of mental health problems in Rwandan and Burundese refugee camps. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 102, 171-177.

De Jong, K., Prosser, S., & Ford, N. (2005). Addressing Psychosocial Needs in the Aftermath of the Tsunami. PLoS Med, 2(6).

What it measures

Pyschosocial and emotional wellbeing


GL Assessment


Adults and adolescents



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