Psychological Capital Questionnaire for Researchers


Measuring the Resource of Psychological Capital

Fred Luthans, Bruce J. Avolio, & James B. Avey

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Psychological Capital (PsyCap) is a positive state-like capacity that has undergone extensive theory-building and research. Psychological Capital is defined as "an individual's positive psychological state of development and is characterized by:

  1. having confidence (self efficacy) to take on and put in the necessary effort to succeed at challenging tasks;
  2. making a positive attribution (optimism) about succeeding now and in the future;
  3. persevering toward goals and, when necessary, redirecting paths to goals (hope) in order to succeed; and
  4. when beset by problems and adversity, sustaining and bouncing back and even beyond (resilience) to attain success."
    --Luthans, Youssef & Avolio, Psychological Capital (Oxford University Press, 2007)

Thus, the PsyCap consists of efficacy, optimism, hope and resilience and when combined has been shown to represent a second-order, core factor that predicts performance and satisfaction better than each of the four factors that make it up (Luthans, Avolio, et al., 2007).

Published research on PsyCap has found that it is related to multiple performance outcomes in the workplace, lower employee absenteeism, less employee cynicism and intentions to quit, and higher job satisfaction, commitment, and organizational citizenship behaviors. Research has also found PsyCap can be enhanced by a supportive work climate. In terms of being state-like, PsyCap has been developed by short training sessions in both classroom and field settings and electronically through the internet.

The PCQ, a measure of PsyCap with 24 items, has undergone extensive psychometric analyses and support from samples representing service, manufacturing, education, high-tech, military and cross cultural sectors. Each of the four components in PsyCap are measured by six items. The resulting score represents an individual's level of positive PsyCap.

If you are looking for the PCQ-12, the 12 item PCQ, you can use the PCQ-24 available from this website but extract the following items:
Efficacy: items 2, 3, 6
Hope: items 7, 10, 11, 12
Resilience: items 15, 16, 17
Optimism: items 21, 22

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The PsyCap page for Assessment and Development includes a full developmental multi-rater report for PsyCap as measured by the PCQ.

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In general, a Group Report saves time by doing the group calculations and providing limited interpretation. The purchase of a Group Report must be accompanied by a purchase of Licenses (Online Surveys) since there must be data available for the Group Report to run. You will need one Group Report per campaign (campaign = Online Survey grouping).

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The PsyCap Trainer's Guide

The Psychological Capital (PsyCap) Trainer's Guide is a resource tool designed to aid trainers in developing a workshop for teaching about Psychological Capital and for how to use the Psychological Capital Questionnaire (PCQ) to create positive behavioral change.

The guide is a two-phase intervention designed for leadership development through psychological capital. Each of the two phases is designed to be a stand-alone intervention. Phase 1 of the intervention can be applied to a wide array of populations including students and professionals. It is designed to build participant psychological capital. Phase 2 requires that participants be at some level of leadership responsibility where they are providing direction to followers under their direct influence. The second phase is designed to provide strategies for -- and efficacy to -- build follower psychological capital. Both phases are best accomplished in conjunction with the multi-rater assessment of Psychological Capital so that the trainees have a perspective of how their Psychological Capital is viewed by those around them.

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Example Items & Scale for the Rater Form


Below are statements that describe how you may think about the person listed above right now. Use the following scale to indicate your level of agreement or disagreement with each statement.

Strongly Disagree Disagree Somewhat Disagree Somewhat Agree Agree Strongly Agree
1 2 3 4 5 6


1. This person feels confident analyzing a long-term problem to find a solution. 1 2 3 4 5 6
7. If this person should find him/herself in a jam at work, he/she could think of many ways to get out of it. 1 2 3 4 5 6
13. When this person has a setback at work, he/she has trouble recovering from it, moving on. 1 2 3 4 5 6

Copyright © 2007 Psychological Capital Questionnaire (PCQ) by Fred L. Luthans, Ph.D., Bruce J. Avolio, Ph.D., & James A. Avey, Ph.D. All rights reserved in all medium. Distributed by Mind Garden, Inc.

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Luthans, F., Avolio, B.J., & Youseff, C. (2007). Psychological Capital: Developing the Human Competitive Edge. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.

Avolio, B.J., & Luthans, F. (2006). High impact leader: Moments matter in authentic leadership development. New York: McGraw-Hill.


Avey, J.B., Reichard, R.J., Luthans, F., & Mhatre, K.H. (2011). Meta-analysis of the impact of positive psychological capital on employee attitudes, behaviors, and performance. Human Resource Development Quarterly, 22 (2), 127-152.
"The present meta-analysis included 51 independent samples (representing a total of N = 12,567 employees) that met the inclusion criteria. The results indicated the expected significant positive relationships between PsyCap and desirable employee attitudes (job satisfaction, organizational commitment, psychological well-being), desirable employee behaviors (citizenship), and multiple measures of performance (self, supervisor evaluations, and objective). There was also a significant negative relationship between PsyCap and undesirable employee attitudes (cynicism, turnover intentions, job stress, and anxiety) and undesirable employee behaviors (deviance)."

Luthans, F., Avey, J.B., & Patera, J.L. (2008). Experimental analysis of a web-based training intervention to develop positive psychological capital. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 7, 209-221.

Luthans, F., Avolio, B.J., Avey, J.B., & Norman, S.M. (2007).  Positive psychological capital:  Measurement and relationship with performance and satisfaction.  Personnel Psychology 60, 541-572.

Luthans, F., & Youssef, (2007). Emerging positive organizational behavior. Journal of Management, 33, 321-349.

Luthans, F., Avey, J.B., Avolio, B.J., Norman, S., & Combs, G.M. (2006).  Psychological capital development:  A micro intervention. Journal of Organizational Behavior. 27, 387-393.

Luthans, F., Avey, J.B., Avolio, B.J., Peterson, S. J. (2010).  The development and resulting performance impact of psychological capital. Human Resource Development Quarterly. 21, 41-67.

Luthans, F., Avolio, B.J., Walumbwa, F.O., & Li, W. (2005). The psychological capital of Chinese workers: Exploring the relationship with performance. Management and Organization Review, 1, 249-271.

Youssef, C.M., & Luthans, F. (2012). Positive global leadership. Journal of World Business. 47, 539-547.

Adapted from:

Parker, S. (1998). Enhancing role-breadth self-efficacy: The roles of job enrichment and other organizational interventions. Journal of Applied Psychology, 83, 835-852.

Scheier, M.F., & Carver, C.S. (1985). Optimism, coping, and health: Assessment and implications of generalized outcome expectancies. Health Psychology, 4, 219-247.

Snyder, C.R. Sympson, S., Ybasco, F., Borders, T., Babyak, M, & Higgens, R. (1996). Development and validation of the state hope scale. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 70, 321-335.

Wagnild, G.M., & Young, H.M. (1993). Development and psychometric evaluation of the resiliency scale. Journal of Nursing management. 1(2), 165-178.

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