GAD-7 Anxiety Test
The standard mental health test for Anxiety (at least an indication that feelings of anxiety may be present) is called the GAD-7 test.
GAD stands for Generalised Anxiety Disorder and the 7 refers to the number of questions that are used to determine the presence or absence of anxious ideation.
Technically, the GAD-7 is a self-administered test meaning that the ‘patient’ answers the questions themselves and on the basis of the scoring system, gets an insight into what their responses might mean.
Subjectivity & Objectivity
It is important to be aware that the possible responses are subjective in nature and so the outcome is the result of subjectivity.
Unlike a blood test, which produces a definitive, or objective, result, self-administered tests are only as reliable as the responses that are given. Because of this, the results are NOT definitive, but only serve as an indication.
In fact, there is no objective test available to determine if a person has anxiety or not.
The Bio-medical modelling which claims that anxiety is caused imbalances in the brain chemistry of sufferers has never been scientifically established and remains just a theory.
Nevertheless, the GAD-7 anxiety test has found its way into the literature as a commonly used tool for indicating the presence of anxiety and in fact the NHS use this test, in conjunction with another test called the PHQ-9 test (Personal Health Questionnaire) to determine the effectiveness of its IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) services.
The reliability of the GAD-7 was good (Cronbach’s alpha = 0.89). A cutoff score of 7 or higher, maximizing the Youden Index, yielded a sensitivity of 73.3% and a specificity of 67.3%.
One-factor structure of the GAD-7 was confirmed by exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis.
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