Background: The aim of the study was to examine the validity of a translated and culturally adapted version of the Physicians' Reaction to Uncertainty scales (PRU) in primary care physicians.
Methods: In a structured process, the original questionnaire was translated, culturally adapted and assessed after administering it to 93 GPs. Test-retest reliability was tested by sending the questionnaire to the GPs again after two weeks.
Results: The principal factor analysis confirmed the postulated four-factor structure underlying the 15 items. In contrast to the original version, item 5 achieved a higher loading on the 'concern about bad outcomes' scale. Consequently, we rearranged the scales. Good item-scale correlations were obtained, with Pearson's correlation coefficient ranging from 0.56-0.84. As regards the item-discriminant validity between the scales 'anxiety due to uncertainty' and 'concern about bad outcomes', partially high correlations (Pearson's correlation coefficient 0.02-0.69; p < 0.001) were found, indicating an overlap between both constructs. The assessment of internal consistency revealed satisfactory values; Cronbach's alpha of the rearranged version was 0.86 or higher for all scales. Test-retest-reliability, assessed by means of the intraclass-correlation-coefficient (ICC), exceeded 0.84, except for the 'reluctance to disclose mistakes to physicians' scale (ICC = 0.66). In this scale, some substantial floor effects occurred, with 29.3% of answers showing the lowest possible value.
Conclusion: Dealing with uncertainty is an important issue in daily practice. The psychometric properties of the rearranged German version of the PRU are satisfying. The revealed floor effects do not limit the significance of the questionnaire. Thus, the German version of the PRU could contribute to the further evaluation of the impact of uncertainty in primary care physicians.