Validation of online psychometric instruments for common mental health disorders: a systematic review

Wouter van Ballegooijen, Heleen Riper, Pim Cuijpers, Patricia van Oppen, Johannes H. Smit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

77 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Online questionnaires for measuring common mental health disorders such as depression and
anxiety disorders are increasingly used. The psychometrics of several pen-and-paper questionnaires have been
re-examined for online use and new online instruments have been developed and tested for validity as well. This
study aims to review and synthesise the literature on this subject and provide a framework for future research.
Methods: We searched Medline and PsycINFO for psychometric studies on online instruments for common mental
health disorders and extracted the psychometric data. Studies were coded and assessed for quality by independent
Results: We included 56 studies on 62 online instruments. For common instruments such as the CES-D, MADRS-S
and HADS there is mounting evidence for adequate psychometric properties. Further results are scattered over
different instruments and different psychometric characteristics. Few studies included patient populations.
Conclusions: We found at least one online measure for each of the included mental health disorders and
symptoms. A small number of online questionnaires have been studied thoroughly. This study provides an
overview of online instruments to refer to when choosing an instrument for assessing common mental health
disorders online, and can structure future psychometric research.
Original languageEnglish
Article number45
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalBMC psychiatry
Publication statusPublished - 25 Feb 2016


  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Internet
  • Measurement
  • Psychometrics
  • Systematic review

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