GAD-7, GAD-2, and GAD-mini: Psychometric properties and norms of university students in the United States

Carol Byrd-Bredbenner, Kaitlyn Eck, Virginia Quick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Objective: The Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD-7 & GAD-2) scales are reliable and valid instruments for assessing generalized anxiety symptoms in the general and clinical populations. However, little attention has been given to the psychometric qualities of GAD-7 and reduced length versions in a diverse sample of young adult college students stratified by sex. Thus, the aims for this study are to test psychometric properties and normative values of GAD-7, GAD-2, and GAD-Mini scales. Method: U.S university students (N = 4128; females n = 2527, males n = 1601) ages 18–26 years completed an online survey composed of the GAD-7, Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-2), and demographic questions. Results: Exploratory principal components analysis yielded a one factor solution for GAD-7 across sexes. In reducing scale length, iterative confirmatory principal components analyses stratified by sex revealed a two-item scale (GAD-Mini) with high factor loading items, internal consistency (α ≥ 0.85), and construct validity with PHQ-2 (r ≥ 0.55). Normative data indicate that regardless of whether GAD-7, GAD-2, or GAD-Mini scores were considered, about three-quarters of men and two-thirds of women scored below the reasonable cut-points in screening for GAD. Conclusion: Findings from this study may help health care providers and researchers better understand the interpretation of these scales among university students when screening for GAD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)61-66
Number of pages6
JournalGeneral Hospital Psychiatry
StatePublished - Mar 1 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


  • Anxiety
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Psychometrics
  • University students
  • Young adults


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