Calibrating well-being, quality of life and common mental disorder items: psychometric epidemiology in public mental health research

Jan Boehnke (Lead / Corresponding author), Tim J. Croudace

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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    Abstract

    Background: The assessment of "general health and well-being" in public mental health research stimulates debates around relative merits of questionnaire instruments and their items. Little evidence regarding alignment or differential advantages of instruments or items has appeared to date.

    Aims: Population-based psychometric study of items employed in public mental health narratives.

    Methods: Multidimensional item response theory was applied to GHQ-12, WEMWBS and EQ-5D items (Health Survey for England, 2010-2012; N = 19 290).

    Results: A bifactor model provided the best account of the data and showed that the GHQ-12 and WEMWBS items assess mainly the same construct. Only one item of the EQ-5D showed relevant overlap with this dimension (anxiety/depression). Findings were corroborated by comparisons with alternative models and cross-validation analyses.

    Conclusions: The consequences of this lack of differentiation (GHQ-12 vs. WEMWBS) for mental health and well-being narratives deserve discussion to enrich debates on priorities in public mental health and its assessment.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)162-168
    Number of pages7
    JournalBritish Journal of Psychiatry
    Volume209
    Issue number2
    Early online date3 Dec 2015
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016

    Keywords

    • Epidemiology
    • General health
    • Psychological distress
    • Mental well-being
    • Psychometrics
    • Item response theory

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