Factor Structure and Validity of the Korean Version of the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 Among Early Childhood Teachers

Boram Lee1, *
1 Department of Early Childhood Education, Woosong University, College of Health and Welfare, Daejeon, Korea

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© 2021 Boram Lee.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Early Childhood Education, Woosong University, College of Health and Welfare, Daejeon, Korea; Tel: 82-42-630-9372; E-mail:



Depression is prevalent among teachers, particularly those in early childhood education. Thus, their depressive symptoms’ accurate assessment is important in both research and practice, and, for this purpose, the nine-item Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) has shown considerable promise in depression screening and diagnosis. Although the PHQ-9 has been widely employed in both clinical and nonclinical settings, its validity among early childhood teachers in Korea is questionable, and its dimensionality remains controversial. This study’s purposes were thus to provide data on the factorial structure and psychometric properties of the PHQ-9’s Korean version and to investigate associations between the PHQ-9 and a corresponding psychiatric instrument, the Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II).


For this study, 252 early childhood teachers completed both the PHQ-9’s Korean version and the BDI-II. Confirmatory factor analysis was used to compare goodness-of-fit for four distinct factor models suggested by extant literature. Convergent validity was assessed by examining correlations between the PHQ-9 and the BDI-II.


A two-factor model with three items labeled “somatic” and six labeled “affective” provided the best fit. The scale’s convergent validity was supported by significant correlations with theoretically related measures, and its internal consistency was adequate.


Overall, the results suggest that the PHQ-9’s Korean version is best conceptualized as a multidimensional measure of depression and confirms the PHQ-9 as a reliable assessment of depression among Korean early childhood teachers.

Keywords: Confirmatory factor analysis, Factor structure, Depression, Patient health questionnaire-9, Early childhood teachers, Workload, BDI.