Original Research

Psychological capital: Internal and external validity of the Psychological Capital Questionnaire (PCQ-24) on a South African sample

Gina Görgens-Ekermans, Marthine Herbert
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 39, No 2 | a1131 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v39i2.1131 | © 2013 Gina Görgens-Ekermans, Marthine Herbert | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 23 April 2013 | Published: 29 October 2013

About the author(s)

Gina Görgens-Ekermans, Department of Industrial Psychology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Marthine Herbert, Department of Industrial Psychology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa


Orientation: Psychological capital (PsyCap) is a relatively novel construct measured with the Psychological Capital Questionnaire 24 (PCQ-24). Only one published South African study on the instrument exists, providing inconsistent psychometric results, when compared with other United States of America (USA) and non-USA studies.

Research purpose: The objectives of this study were to investigate the internal validity (construct and discriminant validity), reliability and external validity (relationship with theoretically relevant variables, namely stress, burnout and work engagement) of the PCQ-24.

Motivation for the study: Multiple studies have underscored the value of PsyCap within the workplace. In order to harness the full potential of the construct in the South African environment, sound measurement thereof, evidenced by a psychometrically sound instrument, is needed.

Research design, approach and method: A cross-sectional survey design was used. The sample consisted of employees at managerial and non-managerial levels, from a medium-sized construction company in the Western Cape, South Africa. In addition to PsyCap, perceived stress, work-related burnout and work engagement were measured.

Main findings: The results provided preliminary evidence of construct and discriminant validity, reliability and significant relations with external theoretically relevant variables.

Practical/managerial implications: Researchers may confidently use the PCQ-24 to measure the construct of PsyCap and investigate relations with workplace outcomes in the South African environment, informing human relations practices.

Contribution/value-add: Preliminary evidence of the psychometric properties of the PCQ-24, which measures the construct of PsyCap (consisting of hope, self-efficacy, resilience and optimism) on a South African sample, was provided in this study.


Psychological Capital; Internal and external validity; Stress; Burnout; Work engagement


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