ORIENTATION : Best practice frameworks suggest that an assessment practitioner’s choice of an
assessment tool should be based on scientific evidence that underpins the appropriate and just
use of the instrument. This is a context-specific validity study involving a classified
psychological instrument against the background of South African regulatory frameworks
and contemporary validity theory principles.
RESEARCH PURPOSE : The aim of the study was to explore the structural validity of the Experience
of Work and Life Circumstances Questionnaire (WLQ) administered to employees in the
automotive assembly plant of a South African automotive manufacturing company.
MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY : Although the WLQ has been used by registered health practitioners
and numerous researchers, evidence to support the structural validity is lacking. This study,
therefore, addressed the need for context-specific empirical support for the validity of score
inferences in respect of employees in a South African automotive manufacturing plant.
RESEARCH DESIGN, APPROACH AND METHOD : The research was conducted using a convenience
sample (N = 217) taken from the automotive manufacturing company where the instrument
was used. Reliability and factor analyses were carried out to explore the structural validity of
MAIN FINDINGS : The reliability of the WLQ appeared to be acceptable, and the assumptions
made about unidimensionality were mostly confirmed. One of the proposed higher-order
structural models of the said questionnaire administered to the sample group was confirmed,
whereas the other one was partially confirmed.
PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS : The conclusion reached was that preliminary empirical
grounds existed for considering the continued use of the WLQ (with some suggested
refinements) by the relevant company, provided the process of accumulating a body of validity
CONTRIBUTION/VALUE-ADD : This study identified some of the difficulties that assessment
practitioners might face in their quest to comply with South Africa’s regulatory framework
and the demands of contemporary test validity theory.