Lost in translation? Psychometric properties and construct validity of the English Essen Climate Evaluation Schema (EssenCES) social climate questionnaire
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The social climate of correctional (forensic) settings is likely to have a significant impact on the outcome of treatment and the overall functioning of these units. The Essen Climate Evaluation Schema (EssenCES) provides an objective way of measuring social climate that overcomes the content, length, and psychometric limitations of other measures. But the English translation of the EssenCES has yet to be sufficiently validated for use in forensic settings in the United Kingdom. The current study presents psychometric properties (factor structure and internal consistency) and an examination of construct validity with the English EssenCES. Satisfactory internal consistency was found for all EssenCES scales, and the expected three-factor structure was confirmed with both staff and residents and in prison and secure hospital settings using confirmatory factor analysis. Evidence to support construct validity was established using multilevel models, which showed statistically significant associations between scores on the EssenCES and scores on the Working Environment Scale, institutional aggression, and site security. Future validation work and potential practical applications of the EssenCES are discussed. © 2011 American Psychological Association.