Social Indicators Research

, Volume 114, Issue 2, pp 723–738 | Cite as

Self-Reported Capabilities Among Young Male Adults in Switzerland: Translation and Psychometric Evaluation of a German, French and Italian Version of a Closed Survey Instrument

  • Karen HofmannEmail author
  • Dominik Schori
  • Thomas Abel


There is a shortage of empirical applications of the capability approach that employ closed survey instruments to assess self-reported capabilities. However, for those few instruments that have been designed and administered through surveys until now, no psychometric properties (reliability, validity, and factor structure) were reported. The purpose of this study is the assessment of the psychometric properties of three new language versions (German, French, and Italian) of an established (English) set of eight self-reported capability items. The set of items is taken from a previously published British study by Anand and van Hees (J Soc Econ 35(2):268–284, 2006). Our sample consists of 17,152 young male adults aged 18–25 years from the three major language regions in Switzerland. The results indicate good reliability of the three language versions. The results from the exploratory factor analyses suggest a one-dimensional factor structure for seven domain specific items. Furthermore, the results from multiple regression analyses suggest that a global summary item on overall capabilities represents a measurement alternative to the set of seven domain specific capability items. Finally, the results confirm the applicability of the closed capability instrument in a large scale survey questionnaire and represent the first attempt to measure self-reported capabilities in Switzerland.


Self-reported capabilities Measurement Psychometric properties Exploratory factor analysis Young adults Switzerland 



This study was supported by a grant from the Swiss National Science Foundation (No. 105313_130068_/1). We thank Paul Anand for permission to use the original English set of capability items. The study used data from the “Swiss Federal Surveys of Adolescents (ch-x)” collected by the ch-x research consortium ch-x cc. Project management: Institute for the Management and Economics of Education, University of Teacher Education Central Switzerland Zug: Stephan Huber. Research partners: Institute for Education Evaluation, associated institute of the University of Zurich: Urs Moser; Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Bern: Thomas Abel; and the Department of Sociology, University of Geneva: Sandro Cattacin.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Social and Behavioral Health Research, Institute of Social and Preventive MedicineUniversity of BernBernSwitzerland

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