Psychometric Properties of the Essen Climate Evaluation Schema (EssenCES) in a Sample of General Psychiatric Wards

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Objective:The questionnaire EssenCES (Essen Climate Evaluation Schema) is a widely used instrument to assess social climate in forensic psychiatric and correctional institutions. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the EssenCES in a general psychiatric setting, where it had not previously been evaluated.DESIGN:648 staff members and 551 patients from 47 general psychiatric wards across 16 hospitals in Germany completed the EssenCES. Factor-, correlation- and scale-analyses were carried out to inspect the questionnaire's properties.RESULTS:The proposed three-dimensional factor structure of the instrument was confirmed. Results indicated that the EssenCES subscales Patients' Cohesion and Experienced Safety had high internal consistency, whereas elimination of item 16 would improve the internal consistency of Therapeutic Hold. Correlations between the EssenCES subscales and other measures supported the validity of the questionnaire.CONCLUSION:The results suggest that the EssenCES is suitable for usage in general psychiatric settings. Along with its brevity, it seems useful as an economic and valid screening instrument for a ward's social climate. Reasons are given why item 16 should be retained.HIGHLIGHTSThe EssenCES is a questionnaire used to assess social climate of psychiatric wards.It was originally developed for forensic psychiatric settings.Psychometric properties of the EssenCES are examined in general psychiatric settings.Factor structure, internal consistency and validity appear sufficient to good.In conclusion, the EssenCES is suitable for usage in general psychiatric settings.

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