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The Factor Structure of the Kessler-10 Questionnaire in a Treatment-Seeking Sample

Berle, David BA(Hons), MPsychol(Clin)*; Starcevic, Vladan MD, PhD†; Milicevic, Denise MFamTher, DClinPsychol*; Moses, Karen BSocSc(Psychol), MPsychol(Clin)*; Hannan, Anthony BSc(Psych), Hons, MClinPsych*; Sammut, Peter BA(Psychol)‡; Brakoulias, Vlasios MB, BS(Hons), MPsychiatry†

Journal of Nervous & Mental Disease: September 2010 - Volume 198 - Issue 9 - pp 660-664
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e3181ef1f16
Original Articles

The Kessler-10 (K10) questionnaire was developed as a screening instrument for nonspecific psychological distress. Although it was validated using epidemiological samples, it is increasingly being used in clinical settings. We sought to determine whether the factor structure of the K10 as established in epidemiological samples, could be replicated in a sample of treatment seeking adults. We used confirmatory factor analysis to investigate two established models of the factor structure of the K10 in a sample of clinic attendees. Neither the single factor model of Kessler et al., Psychol Med. 2002;32:959–976, nor the multifactorial model of Brooks et al., Psychol Assess. 2006;18:62–70 fitted the data. Respecification of the Kessler et al. model to reduce item redundancy did not result in adequate fit. These findings call into question the construct validity of the K10 in treatment seeking samples, and the suitability of the scale for clinical settings may need to be reconsidered.

*Nepean Anxiety Disorders Clinic, Sydney West Area Health Service, Penrith, NSW, Australia; †Discipline of Psychiatry, Sydney Medical School—Nepean, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia; and ‡Department of Psychiatry, Nepean Hospital, Penrith, NSW, Australia.

Send reprint requests to David Berle, BA(Hons), MPsychol(Clin), Nepean Anxiety Disorders Clinic, Sydney West Area Health Service, PO Box 63, Penrith NSW 2751, Australia. E-mail: dberle@psy.unsw.edu.au, or berled@wahs.nsw.gov.au.

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.