Background Several studies have documented the variety of post-stroke psychosocial challenges, which are complex, multifaceted, and affect a patient’s rehabilitation and recovery. Due to the consequences of these challenges, psychosocial well-being should be considered an important outcome of the stroke rehabilitation. Thus, a valid and reliable instrument that is appropriate for the stroke population is required. The factor structure of the Norwegian version of GHQ-28 has not previously been examined when applied to a stroke population. The purpose of this study was to explore the psychometric properties of the GHQ-28 when applied in the stroke population included in the randomized controlled trial; “Psychosocial well-being following stroke”, by evaluating the internal consistency, exploring the factor structure, construct validity and measurement invariance. Methods Data were obtained from 322 individuals with a stroke onset within the past month. The Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin (KMO) test was used to test the sampling adequacy for exploratory factor analysis, and the Bartlett’s test of sphericity was used to test equal variances. Internal consistency was analysed using Cronbach’s alpha. The factor structure of the GHQ-28 was evaluated by exploratory factor analysis (EFA), and a confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was used to determine the goodness of fit to the original structure of the outcome measurement. Measurement invariance for two time points was evaluated by configural, metric and scalar invariance. Results The results from the EFA supported the four-factor dimensionality, but some of the items were loaded on different factors compared to those of the original structure. The differences resulted in a reduced goodness of fit in the CFA. Measurement invariance at two time points was confirmed. Conclusions The change in mean score from one to six months on the GHQ-28 and the factor composition are assumed to be affected by characteristics in the stroke population. The results, when applying the GHQ-28 in a stroke population, and sub-factor analysis based on the original factor structure should be interpreted with caution. Trial registration ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT02338869 , registered 10/04/2014.
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