Gender invariance of the Self-Reporting Questionnaire (SRQ-20)

Tahira Kootbodien, Piet Becker, Nisha Naicker, Angela Mathee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The World Health Organization 20-item Self-Reporting Questionnaire is a quick, low-cost screening instrument for measuring common mental disorders and has been applied in community-based health surveys in developing countries. It was originally designed as a general single factor tool for assessing mental distress associated with several common mental disorders. However, studies have also examined alternate multi-factor solutions for the Self-Reporting Questionnaire-20 across diverse study populations. A cross-sectional household survey was conducted in August and September 2009 among adults living in five urban communities in Johannesburg, South Africa (n€‰=€‰360). The Self-Reporting Questionnaire-20 was used to assess common mental disorders in the past month. Confirmatory factor analysis was applied to compare three competing models (one-, two-, and three-factor models). All three models fit the data well. Gender invariance was tested on the one-factor model based on its extensive application in clinical and research settings. Our findings did not support gender invariance. The differences in factor loadings between male and female subgroups suggest that the application of the Self-Reporting Questionnaire-20 may be more suited to women and therefore should be used cautiously for the assessment of common mental disorders in South Africa urban populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)318-331
Number of pages14
JournalSouth African Journal of Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 12 Sept 2015


  • Common mental disorders
  • Self-Reporting Questionnaire (SRQ-20)
  • gender differences
  • measurement invariance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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