Validation of the Italian Version of the Web Screening Questionnaire for Common Mental Disorders

Giada Pietrabissa, Michelle Semonella, Gloria Marchesi, Stefania Mannarini, Gianluca Castelnuovo, Gerhard Andersson, Alessandro Alberto Rossi

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Background: The ever-increasing spread of Internet-based systems for common mental disorders has generated the need for brief online screening methods. This study aims to test the psychometric properties of the Web Screening Questionnaire (WSQ) to examine its suitability for screening for common mental health problems among a community sample of Italian adults. Methods: A total of 1282 subjects (F = 819; mean age = 42.05) answered the WSQ. Its discriminant characteristics were examined with other validated selected scales for measuring mental health widely used in the Italian population using sensitivity, specificity, and area under the curve (AUC), as well as positive (PPV) and negative predictive values (NPV). Results: Most of the WSQ subscales exhibited moderate to high specificity values. Specifically, the scales of ‘agoraphobia’ (0.947; 95%CI [0.934, 0.960]), ‘anxiety’ (0.959; 95%CI [0.946, 0.970]), and ‘panic disorder’ (0.973; 95%CI [0.964, 0.981]) showed the highest values whilst the ‘obsessive-compulsive’ dimension had the lowest value at 0.838, 95%CI [0.815, 0.861]. With exceptions observed for ‘depression’ (0.716; 95%CI [642, 798]) and ‘alcohol abuse’ (0.760; 95%CI [560, 920]), instead, the WSQ demonstrated critical sensitivity values (<0.6) in all dimensions. Conclusions: The WSQ was appropriate for discriminating between people with and without a psychiatric condition, as it helps to confirm the absence of disorders. However, further diagnostic procedures are required, in case of a positive WSQ screening result.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1170
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - 19 Feb 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 by the authors.


  • alcohol problems
  • anxiety
  • clinical psychology
  • depression
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • online
  • panic
  • psychological assessment
  • web-based intervention


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