PatientPlus articles are written by UK doctors and are based on research evidence, UK and European Guidelines. They are designed for health professionals to use, so you may find the language more technical than the condition leaflets.
The GAD-7 originates from Spitzer RL, Kroenke K, Williams JB, et al; A brief measure for assessing generalized anxiety disorder: the GAD-7. Arch Intern Med. 2006 May 22;166(10):1092-7. GAD-7 © Pfizer Inc. all rights reserved; used with permission.
The GAD-7 score is calculated by assigning scores of 0, 1, 2, and 3, to the response categories of 'not at all', 'several days', 'more than half the days', and 'nearly every day', respectively, and adding together the scores for the seven questions.
Scores of 5, 10, and 15 are taken as the cut-off points for mild, moderate and severe anxiety, respectively. When used as a screening tool, further evaluation is recommended when the score is 10 or greater.
Using the threshold score of 10, the GAD-7 has a sensitivity of 89% and a specificity of 82% for GAD. It is moderately good at screening three other common anxiety disorders - panic disorder (sensitivity 74%, specificity 81%), social anxiety disorder (sensitivity 72%, specificity 80%) and post-traumatic stress disorder (sensitivity 66%, specificity 81%).
Further reading & references
- Swinson RP; The GAD-7 scale was accurate for diagnosing generalised anxiety disorder. Evid Based Med. 2006 Dec;11(6):184.
- Spitzer RL, Kroenke K, Williams JB, et al; A brief measure for assessing generalized anxiety disorder: the GAD-7. Arch Intern Med. 2006 May 22;166(10):1092-7.
- Kroenke K, Spitzer RL, Williams JB, et al; Anxiety disorders in primary care: prevalence, impairment, comorbidity, and detection. Ann Intern Med. 2007 Mar 6;146(5):317-25.
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.
Dr Huw Thomas
Dr Hayley Willacy
Dr Colin Tidy