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Use of the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ) in a Zulu-speaking setting : an assessment of translation, reliability and some validity issues.

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Psychology in South Africa is facing a dire need for valid and reliable mental health instruments for all its citizenry. There presently exists a reliance on instruments of foreign origin. Very often such instruments are used without their psychometric properties having been tested in the local setting. The present study employed a multi-stage process for translating the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ) into Zulu. A simplified English version of the GHQ and the translated Zulu version were subsequently administered to a sample of two hundred and fifty seven (257) bilingual high school students. The data from this sample was used to assess the equivalency between the Zulu version and the English version. At the scale level, both versions of the GHQ showed adequate internal consistency and reliability. Item analysis revealed certain differences between the two versions. Possible explanations regarding semantic differences are discussed. Substantial overlap between the factor solutions of the two versions was found. These factor solutions were found to correspond well with those recorded in the literature. The present sample scored much higher on the GHQ than foreign samples do. Suggestions for raising the cutting scores for South African samples are made. On the whole, the Zulu version displayed evidence of reasonable equivalence to the English version. A comprehensive research programme for the GHQ in South Africa is presented.


Thesis (M.A.)-University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg, 1996.


Examinations--Validity., Ethnopsychology., Theses--Psychology., Mental health--South Africa., Mental health--Testing., Test bias--South Africa., Mental Health Questionnaire., Mental Health Questionnaire (Zulu)., Mental Health Questionnaire--Design and construction.