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Title: The impact of ambiguous response categories on the factor structure of the GHQ-12
Autores: Rey, J. J.
Abad, F. J
Barrada, J. R.
Garrido, Luis Eduardo
Ponsoda, V.
Researchers (UNIBE): Garrido, Luis Eduardo 
Research area: Ciencias de la Salud; Ciencias Sociales
Keywords: General Health Questionnaire; GHQ–12; Confirmatory factor analysis; Factor structure
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: American Psychological Association
Source: Psychological Assessment, 26(3), 1021-1030
Journal: Psychological assessment 
Volume: 26
Issue: 3
Start page: 1021
End page: 1030
Previous research has suggested multiple factor structures for the 12-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12), with contradictory evidence arising across different studies on the validity of these models. In the present research, it was hypothesized that these inconsistent findings were due to the interaction of 3 main methodological factors: ambiguous response categories in the negative items, multiple scoring schemes, and inappropriate estimation methods. Using confirmatory factor analysis with appropriate estimation methods and scores obtained from a large (n = 27,674) representative Spanish sample, we tested this hypothesis by evaluating the fit and predictive validities of 4 GHQ-12 factor models-unidimensional, Hankins' (2008a) response bias model, Andrich and Van Schoubroeck's (1989) 2-factor model, and Graetz's (1991) 3-factor model-across 3 scoring methods: standard, corrected, and Likert. In addition, the impact of method effects on the reliability of the global GHQ-12 scores was also evaluated. The combined results of this study support the view that the GHQ-12 is a unidimensional measure that contains spurious multidimensionality under certain scoring schemes (corrected and Likert) as a result of ambiguous response categories in the negative items. Therefore, it is suggested that the items be scored using the standard method and that only a global score be derived from the instrument.
DOI: 10.1037/a0036468
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