Background: The importance of medical education research in Saudi Arabia has been acknowledged increasingly and a lot of concepts used have been derived from the Western world. The question arises, however, whether Western concepts and questionnaires are transferable to societies with different cultures. The aim of this study was to investigate the instrument structure and the reliability of the Arabic version of the Zuckerman-Kuhlman Personality Questionnaire-medium ( ZKPQ-m).
Methods: Three statistical methods with decreased amount of strictness were used to analyse our data: Confirmatory Factor Analysis, Procrustes rotation and Principal Component Analysis.
Results: Our outcomes did not confirm the original instrument structure. Instead, we found four interpretable components: Emotional Instability, Impulse-seeking, Activeness and Self-Control. However, the amount of explained variance was not very high and the internal consistencies ranged from unsatisfactory to only moderate. The data showed a high percentage of respondents agreeing with more than three items of the Infrequency scale, which may be attributable to the collectivistic culture in Saudi Arabia.
Conclusion: We did not succeed in replicating the ZKPQ structure in the Arabic context. Social desirability, a common characteristic in collectivistic cultures, may have reduced the replicability of the internal structure of the ZKPQ-m. Different methods to measure concepts in collectivistic cultures may help to get round social desirability.