Introduction Psychosocial Safety Climate (PSC) – a specific dimension of organisational climate – refers to shared perceptions regarding policies for the protection of worker psychological health and safety (Hall, Dollard & Coward, 2010) and is considered to comprise four content domains. The objective of the current study is to further develop the PSC instrument by investigating its validity, i.e. the comprehensibility of the PSC items, in another culture and language than where it was originally developed.
Methods The study follows a mixed-method approach. After translating the original English PSC items into German, they were revised by experts on work and health, focusing on the meaning and practical use of terms, the frame of reference and differences in legislation. To obtain a wider coverage of the underlying dimensions, further items were added.
Cognitive interview techniques (think-aloud, probing) with 25 employees of different occupations, tenure and age were applied on this enhanced version of the PSC instrument, leading to a preliminary revised PSC tool.
In the quantitative main study currently underway, this revised PSC tool is applied in a sample of more than 2000 employees from different organisations and branches to test the structure of the instrument, its assumed multi-level nature and its relations with other psychosocial working conditions and relevant health measures.
Result The cognitive interviews indicated that the term „psychological health’ is not well understood by German employees and requires a definition. Moreover, several items required adaptions in wording to ensure similar understanding among employees with different backgrounds. Preliminary results from the main study support the tool’s reliability and validity in the German context.
Discussion This study demonstrates the benefits of applying both cognitive interview techniques and a quantitative survey in instrument adaptation and testing. The revised PSC tool will allow for a stronger cross-cultural use of the PSC concept.