reliable change index, clinical significance, clinically meaningful change, anxiety, GAD-7


Aim: It is increasingly important for mental healthcare providers and researchers to reliably assess client change, particularly with common presenting problems such as anxiety. The current study addresses this need by establishing a Reliable Change Index of 6 points for the GAD-7.

Method: Sample size included 116 online community participants using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (MTurk) and archival data for 332 clinical participants. Participants completed measures of the GAD-7 and the MDI in 2 rounds. Using previously established cutoff scores and Jacobson and Truax’s (1991) method, we establish a Reliable Change Index which, when applied to 2 administrations of the GAD-7, indicates if a client has experienced meaningful change.

Results: For the GAD-7, the mean score for the clinical sample was 10.57. For the community sample at Time 1, the mean score was 4.14. A Pearson’s correlation was computed to assess the 14-28-day test-retest reliability of the GAD-7, r(110) = .87, indicating good test-retest reliability.

Conclusion: Using the RCI equation, this resulted in an RCI of 5.59. For practical use the RCI would be rounded to 6.

Original Publication Citation

Bischoff, Thomas et al. Establishment of a Reliable Change Index for the GAD-7. Psychology, Community & Health, [S.l.], v. 8, n. 1, p. 176-187, apr. 2020.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Psychology, Community & Health




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Associate Professor