The present study compares the efficacy of the GHQ-12 and the Chinese Health Questionnaire (CHQ–12) in Cantonese speaking Chinese primary-care patients living in Greater Manchester, using relative operating characteristic (ROC) analysis. We did not find that the Chinese version offered any advantage over the conventional version of the GHQ in this population. Stepwise discriminant analysis however confirmed the value of individual items in the former pertaining to specific somatic symptoms and interpersonal relationships in differentiating cases from non-cases. Information biases, arising from the lack of a reliability study on the second-stage case identifying interview and the unique linguistic characteristics of the Chinese language may have affected the overall validity indices of the questionnaires. The study also examines the effects of using different criteria to define a case, and shows that with increasing levels of severity, there is an improvement in the diagnostic performance of the two questionnaires as reflected by areas under ROC curves and traditional validity indices. Possible explanations of these findings are discussed. The scoring method proposed by Goodchild & Duncan-Jones (1985) when used on these questionnaires had no demonstrable advantage over the conventional scoring method.
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