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Factor Structure Of General Health Questionnaire And Assessment: A Cross-Sectional Study Among University Students In Malaysia

Prashanth Talwar, Mohd Fadzil Abd Rahman


Objective: This study aims to assess the factor structure and reliability of the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12). Additionally, the study also attempts to evaluate the psychological well-being among university students using the GHQ-12 scale and thereby determine a relationship between select demographic variables and well-being. 

Methods: An exploratory cross-sectional survey was conducted among undergraduate students of a public university in Sarawak, Malaysia. A self-administered questionnaire consisting of the demographic aspects and the GHQ-12 scale were utilized to assess the well-being of students, who were selected by convenience sampling technique. 

Results: Factorability of the GHQ-12 was examined and a three-factor model explaining 55% total variance was found to be the best fit. Internal consistency of the scale was 0.78, which is within the acceptable range. The results also suggest that considerable proportion (57%) of students had psychological distress. Participants who were susceptible to psychological distress in the present study were identified as students with poor social support, in a relationship with partner as well as the student with Hindu’s religion and male students. By multiple regression analysis, variables that significantly predicted psychological distress were gender; income; area of residence; relationship with parents; negative life events; smoking; drinking and event with the overall model fit were 34%.

Conclusion: Based on these findings, it may be foreseen that if prompt intervention is not provided to students in distress, they may be susceptible to depression, anxiety and stress. The findings have implications for teachers and counsellors, who are in a position to influence a wide range of students and provide support to improve the psychological well-being of students.

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GHQ-12; Factor structure; Psychological well-being

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