Original Research

Construct validity and reliability of the generalised anxiety disorder-7 scale in a sample of tuberculosis patients in the Free State Province, South Africa

Gladys Kigozi
Southern African Journal of Infectious Diseases | Vol 36, No 1 | a298 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajid.v36i1.298 | © 2021 Gladys Kigozi | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 05 May 2021 | Published: 19 August 2021

About the author(s)

Gladys Kigozi, Centre for Health Systems Research & Development, Faculty of the Humanities, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa


Background: Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) frequently occurs amongst patients with tuberculosis (TB) and contributes to poor quality of life and treatment outcomes. This study evaluated the construct validity and reliability of the GAD-7 scale in a sample of patients with TB in the Free State Province.

Methods: A pilot study was conducted amongst a convenience sample of 208 adult patients newly diagnosed with drug-susceptible TB attending primary healthcare (PHC) facilities in the Lejweleputswa District in the Free State. A structured interviewer-administered questionnaire comprising social demographic questions and the GAD-7 scale was used. Confirmatory factor analysis was used to investigate the construct validity of the GAD-7 scale. The reliability of the scale was assessed by calculating Cronbach’s alpha.

Results: The analysis showed that a modified two-factor (somatic symptoms and cognitive -emotional symptoms) model, in which the items ‘Not being able to stop or control worrying’ and ‘Worrying too much about different things’ were allowed to covary (Comparative Fit Index: 0.996, Tucker–Lewis Index: 0.993, Root Mean Square Error of Approximation: 0.070, 90% confidence interval: 0.032–0.089), fitted the data better than a unidimensional (generalised anxiety) or an unmodified two-factor model. The indicators all showed significant positive factor loadings, with standardised coefficients ranging from 0.719 to 0.873. The Cronbach’s alpha of the scale was 0.86.

Conclusion: The modified two-factor structure and high internal consistency respectively provide evidence for construct validity and reliability of the GAD-7 scale for assessing GAD amongst patients with TB. Studies are necessary to assess the performance of this brief scale under routine TB programme conditions in the Free State.


tuberculosis; GAD-7; primary healthcare; anxiety; construct validity; confirmatory factor analysis


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