The Safety Attitudes Questionnaire: psychometric properties, benchmarking data, and emerging research

BMC Health Serv Res. 2006 Apr 3:6:44. doi: 10.1186/1472-6963-6-44.


Background: There is widespread interest in measuring healthcare provider attitudes about issues relevant to patient safety (often called safety climate or safety culture). Here we report the psychometric properties, establish benchmarking data, and discuss emerging areas of research with the University of Texas Safety Attitudes Questionnaire.

Methods: Six cross-sectional surveys of health care providers (n = 10,843) in 203 clinical areas (including critical care units, operating rooms, inpatient settings, and ambulatory clinics) in three countries (USA, UK, New Zealand). Multilevel factor analyses yielded results at the clinical area level and the respondent nested within clinical area level. We report scale reliability, floor/ceiling effects, item factor loadings, inter-factor correlations, and percentage of respondents who agree with each item and scale.

Results: A six factor model of provider attitudes fit to the data at both the clinical area and respondent nested within clinical area levels. The factors were: Teamwork Climate, Safety Climate, Perceptions of Management, Job Satisfaction, Working Conditions, and Stress Recognition. Scale reliability was 0.9. Provider attitudes varied greatly both within and among organizations. Results are presented to allow benchmarking among organizations and emerging research is discussed.

Conclusion: The Safety Attitudes Questionnaire demonstrated good psychometric properties. Healthcare organizations can use the survey to measure caregiver attitudes about six patient safety-related domains, to compare themselves with other organizations, to prompt interventions to improve safety attitudes and to measure the effectiveness of these interventions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Ambulatory Care Facilities
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Benchmarking*
  • Burnout, Professional / prevention & control
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Health Services Research / methods
  • Health Services Research / trends
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction
  • New Zealand
  • Organizational Culture
  • Patient Care Team
  • Psychometrics / instrumentation*
  • Psychometrics / methods
  • Safety Management / methods
  • Safety Management / organization & administration*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • Workplace / psychology