The Essen Climate Evaluation Schema - EssenCES©

The EssenCES© was originally developed for assessing traits of the social and therapeutic atmosphere of forensic psychiatric wards in Germany. Meanwhile, it has been translated into a number of languages, and there are versions for the use in correctional settings. In a recent German project, its utility and psychometric properties have also been examined and largely confirmed on general psychiatric wards (Siess & Schalast, 2017).

The EssenCES© is an economic 15-item instrument (plus 2: item 1 and 17 are not scored).  Climate dimensions measured are Therapeutic Hold, Patients’ Cohesion and Mutual Support and Experienced Safety (vs. threat of aggression and violence). The wording is slightly different in the correctional-setting-versions.

Basic Information

Publications refering to the EssenCES


  • The “EssenCES – A manual and more”, edited by Norbert Schalast and Matthew Tonkin, can be ordered at Hogrefe Publishing.
    • An extract can be found here.

Printouts useful to work with the manual

Instruction for Patients

deutsch  Stationsklimafragebogen - The Essen Climate Evaluation Schema

Der Fragebogen EssenCES© wurde, beginnend 1993, in einer Reihe von Forschungsprojekten zum forensisch-psychiatrischen Maßregelvollzug entwickelt. Es handelt sich um einen kurzen Beurteilungsbogen (15 Feststellungen plus 2 nicht gewertete Items), mit dem drei Merkmale des Stationsklimas eingeschätzt werden: das Sicherheitsgefühl der beteiligten Personen, der erlebte therapeutische Halt und der Zusammenhalt der Patienten. Der Beurteilungsbogen wurde als ökonomische Alternative zur bekannten, mit 100 Fragebogenfeststellungen wesentlich umfangreicheren, Ward Atmosphere Scale entwickelt (Moos & Houts 1968, Moss 1974; deutsche Adaptation: Stationsbeurteilungsbogen SBB, Engel et al. 1983).
Der Fragebogen wurde 2005 zunächst unter der Bezeichnung SK-M: Stationsklima Maßregelvollzug publiziert. Im Zuge der Neugestaltung des Bogens wurde die inzwischen gebräuchliche internationale Bezeichnung EssenCES© übernommen. Das Instrument wurde inzwischen auch in Einrichtungen des Justizvollzugs eingesetzt. Da die Korrespondenz über den Beurteilungsbogen in den letzten Jahren fast ausschließlich in der englischen Sprache erfolgte, sind wesentliche Dokumente hier in englischer Fassung hinterlegt. (siehe oben)

  • Informationen über eine noch nicht abschließend veröffentlichte bundesweite DFG-Studie finden Sie hier.
  • Eine Liste von Publikationen, in denen der Fragebogen EssenCES berücksichtigt wurde, finden Sie hier.
  • Anfang 2016 ist beim Hogrefe-Verlag ein englischsprachiges EssenCES-Manual erschienen. Informationen finden Sie hier.
    • Eine Leseprobe des Manuals finden Sie hier

Deutschsprachige Downloads

Englischsprachige Downloads

  • weitergehende Downloads in englischer Sprache finden Sie hier

Publications referring to the EssenCES (by February 2020)

Download as a PDF-Version


  • French, J., O'Sullivan, D. V., Diggle, T., & Martin, A. (2020). Staff experiences of social climate in a medium secure adolescent unit. British Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 9(1), 31-40.
  • Gaab, S., Brazil, I. A., de Vries, M. G., & Bulten, B. H. (2020). The relationship between treatment alliance, social climate, and treatment readiness in long-term forensic psychiatric care: an explorative study. International journal of offender therapy and comparative criminology, 0306624X19899609.


  • Auty, K. M., & Liebling, A. (2019). Exploring the relationship between prison social climate and reoffending. Justice Quarterly, 1-24.
  • Berry, S., & Robertson, N. (2019). Burnout within forensic psychiatric nursing: its relationship with ward environment and effective clinical supervision? Journal of psychiatric and mental health nursing, 26(7-8), 212-222.
  • Busetto, V., Camuccio, C. A., & Giacomin, E. (2019). La valutazione del clima di reparto nelle Comunità Terapeutiche Riabilitative Protette: uno studio osservazionale di coorte. Journal of Health Care Education in Practice, 1(1). (Italian language)
  • Efkemann, S. A., Bernard, J., Kalagi, J., Otte, I., Ueberberg, B., Assion, H. J., ... & Gather, J. (2019). Ward atmosphere and patient satisfaction in psychiatric hospitals with different ward settings and door policies. Results from a mixed methods study. Frontiers in psychiatry, 10, 576.
  • Frey, M., Leygraf, N., & Schalast, N. (2019). ADHS als Problem und Thema der Behandlung in der Entziehungsanstalt. Forensische Psychiatrie, Psychologie, Kriminologie, 13(3), 239-250.
  • Fröhlich, D., Rabenschlag, F., Schoppmann, S., Borgwardt, S., Lang, U. E., & Huber, C. G. (2018). Positive effects of an anti-aggression and de-escalation training on ward atmosphere and subjective safety may depend on previous training experience. Frontiers in psychiatry, 9, 134.
  • Hottinen, A., RytiläManninen, M., Laurén, J., Autio, S., Laiho, T., & Lindberg, N. (2019). Impact of the implementation of the safewards model on the social climate on adolescent psychiatric wards. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing.
  • Ireland, C. A., Ireland, J. L., Jones, N. S., Chu, S., & Lewis, M. (2019). Predicting security incidents in high secure male psychiatric care. International journal of law and psychiatry, 64, 40-52.
  • Ireland, J. L., Sebalo, I., McNeill, K., Murphy, K., Brewer, G., Ireland, C. A., ... & Nally, T. (2019). Impacting on factors promoting intra group aggression in secure psychiatric settings. Heliyon, 5(3), e01400.
  • Jäckel, D., Baumgardt, J., Helber-Böhlen, H., Stiehm, N., Morgenstern, K., Voigt, A., ... & Schulz, M. (2019). Veränderungen des Stationsklimas und der Arbeitszufriedenheit nach Einführung des Safewards-Modells auf zwei geschützten akutpsychiatrischen Stationen – Eine multiperspektivische Evaluation. Psychiatrische Praxis, 46(07), 369-375.
  • Pniewski, B., Elsner, K., & König, A. (2019). Behandlungsevaluation im Jugendmaßregelvollzug. Forensische Psychiatrie, Psychologie, Kriminologie, 13(3), 282-291.
  • Puzzo, I., Aldridge-Waddon, L., Bush, E., & Farr, C. (2019). The Relationship Between Ward Social Climate, Ward Sense of Community, and Incidents of Disruptive Behavior: A Study of a High Secure Psychiatric Sample. International Journal of Forensic Mental Health, 18(2), 153-163.
  • Riordan, D., Browne, C., Korobanova, D., Kariuki, M., Daffern, M., & Dean, K. (2019). Imminent aggression in female forensic inpatients: A study assessing the predictive validity of the dynamic appraisal of situational aggression: Women’s Version (DASA: WV). International Journal of Forensic Mental Health, 18(4), 326-335.
  • Robinson, J. E., & Craig, L. (2019). Social climate and aggression in IDD services. Journal of Intellectual Disabilities and Offending Behaviour, 10(1), 8-18.
  • Sauter, J., Stasch, J., Seewald, K., Hausam, J., & Dahle, K. P. (2019). Let’s work together-Occupational factors and their correlates to prison climate and inmates’ attitudes towards treatment. Frontiers in psychiatry, 10, 781.
  • Tomlin, J., Völlm, B., Furtado, V., Egan, V., & Bartlett, P. (2019). The Forensic Restrictiveness Questionnaire: Development, Validation, and Revision. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 10.
  • Williams, L. S., Green, E. L., & Chernoff, W. A. (2019). “There’s More to It Than Just a Box Check”: Measuring Prison Climate in Three Correctional Facilities. International journal of offender therapy and comparative criminology, 63(8), 1354-1383.
  • Wood, L., Jones, A., Bishop, E., & Williams, C. (2019). Evaluating the introduction of assistant psychologists to an acute mental health inpatient setting. Journal of Psychiatric Intensive Care, 15(1), 21-30.


  • Bell, N., Tonkin, M., Chester, V., & Craig, L. (2018). Adapting measures of social climate for use with individuals with intellectual developmental disability in forensic settings. Psychology, Crime & Law, 24(4), 362-378.
  • de Vries, M. G., Brazil, I. A., van der Helm, P., Verkes, R. J., & Bulten, B. H. (2018). Ward climate in a high-secure forensic psychiatric setting: Comparing two instruments. International Journal of Forensic Mental Health, 17(3), 247-255.
  • Fröhlich, D., Rabenschlag, F., Schoppmann, S., Borgwardt, S., Lang, U. E., & Huber, C. G. (2018). Positive effects of an anti-aggression and de-escalation training on ward atmosphere and subjective safety may depend on previous training experience. Frontiers in psychiatry, 9, 134.
  • Glennon, C., & Sher, M. A. (2018). Evaluation of the EssenCES in a neurodevelopmental inpatient service for adolescents. Journal of Intellectual Disabilities, 22(3), 233-245.
  • Hallett, N., Huber, J., Sixsmith, J., & Dickens, G. L. (2018). Measuring the violence prevention climate: Development and evaluation of the VPC-14. International journal of nursing studies, 88, 97-103.
  • Lo, S. B., Gaupp, R., Huber, C., Schneeberger, A., Garic, G., Voulgaris, A., ... & Lang, U. E. (2018). Influence of an" Open Door Policy" on ward climate: impact on treatment quality. Psychiatrische Praxis, 45(3), 133-139.
  • O’Flynn, P., O’Regan, R., O’Reilly, K., & Kennedy, H. G. (2018). Predictors of quality of life among inpatients in forensic mental health: implications for occupational therapists. BMC psychiatry, 18(1), 16.
  • Robinson, J., Craig, L. A., & Tonkin, M. (2018). Perceptions of social climate and aggressive behavior in forensic services: A systematic review. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 19(4), 391-405.
  • Schalast, N., & Sieß, J. (2018). Zusammenhänge des Stationsklimas mit objektiven Rahmenbedingungen psychiatrischer Stationen. Psychiatrische Praxis, 45(05), 242-247.
  • Stasch, J., Yoon, D., Sauter, J., Hausam, J., & Dahle, K. P. (2018). Prison climate and its role in reducing dynamic risk factors during offender treatment. International journal of offender therapy and comparative criminology, 62(14), 4609-4621.
  • Zugai, J. S., Stein‐Parbury, J., & Roche, M. (2018). Therapeutic alliance, anorexia nervosa and the inpatient setting: A mixed methods study. Journal of advanced nursing, 74(2), 443-453.


  • Blagden, N., Perrin, C., Smith, S., Gleeson, F., & Gillies, L. (2017). “A different world” exploring and understanding the climate of a recently re-rolled sexual offender prison. Journal of sexual aggression, 23(2), 151-166.
  • Doyle, P., Quayle, E., & Newman, E. (2017). Social climate in forensic mental health settings: A systematic review of qualitative studies, Aggression and Violent Behavior (2017), doi: 10.1016/j.avb.2017.06.008.
  • Schalast, N., & Laan J.M. (2017). Measuring social climate in German prisons using the Essen Climate Evaluation Schema. The Prison Journal. 97(2), 166-180.
  • Siess, J., & Schalast, N. (2017). Psychometric Properties of the Essen Climate Evaluation Schema (EssenCES) in a Sample of General Psychiatric Wards. Archives of Psychiatric Nursing, DOI: 10.1016/j.apnu.2017.08.001.
  • Stasch, J., Sauter, J., & Dahle, KP. (2017). The new institution of preventive detention in Berlin – Prison climate in focus (article in German, English abstract). Forens Psychiatr Psychol Kriminol, 11, 13–21.


  • Blagden, N., Winder, B., & Hames, C. (2016). “They Treat Us Like Human Beings”—Experiencing a therapeutic sex offenders prison impact on prisoners and staff and implications for treatment. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 60(4), 371-396.
  • Casey, S., Day, A., & Reynolds, J. (2016). The Influence of Incarceration Length and Protection Status on Perceptions of Prison Social Climate. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 43(2), 285-296.
  • de Vries, M. G., Brazil, I. A., Tonkin, M., & Bulten, B. H. (2016). Ward Climate Within a High Secure Forensic Psychiatric Hospital: Perceptions of Patients and Nursing Staff and the Role of Patient Characteristics. Archives of Psychiatric Nursing, 30, 342-349.
  • Lord, K., Priest, H., & McGowan, A. (2016). Therapeutic engagement in medium-secure care: an interpretative phenomenological analysis of service users’ experiences. The Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology, 27(1), 55-76.
  • Robinson, J., Craig, L. A., Tonkin, M. (2016). Perceptions of Social Climate and Aggressive Behavior in Forensic Services – A Systematic Review. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, published online first
  • Schalast, N., & Tonkin, M. (eds., 2016). The Essen climate evaluation schema: A Manual and More. Hogrefe Publishing: Göttingen, Germany.
  • Veale, D., Miles, S., Naismith, I., Pieta, M., Gilbert, P. (2016). Development of a compassion-focused and contextual behavioural environment and validation of the Therapeutic Environment Scales (TESS). Psychiatric Bulletin, 40, 12-19


  • Blaesi, S., Gairing, S. K., Walter, M., Lang, U. E., & Huber, C. G. (2015). Sicherheit, therapeutischer Halt und Patientenzusammenhalt auf geschlossenen, neu geöffneten und offenen psychiatrischen Stationen. Psychiatrische Praxis, 42(02), 76-81. doi: 10.1055/s-0033-1359871
  • Chester, V., McCathie, J., Quinn, M., Ryan, L., Popple, J., Loveridge, C., & Spall, J. (2015). Clinician experiences of administering the Essen Climate Evaluation Schema (EssenCES) in a forensic intellectual disability service. Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities, 9(2), 70-78.
  • Chu, S., McNeill, K., Wright, K. M., Hague, A., & Wilkins, T. (2015). The impact of a night confinement policy on patients in a UK high secure inpatient mental health service. Journal of Forensic Practice, 17(1), 21-30.
  • Hui, A. M. (2015). The use of coercive measures in a high secure hospital: expressions of institutional and emotional work (Dissertation). University of Nottingham, UK
  • McCann, T., Baird, J., & Muir, E. C. (2015). Social climate of acute old age psychiatry inpatient units: staff perceptions within the context of patient aggression. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, 22(2), 102-108.
  • McWilliam, N., Nielssen, O., & Moore, J. (2015). Sorting it out: A Community Mediation Training Program at a Therapeutic Prison. Sydney Law Review, 37(1), 69.
  • Tonkin, M. (2015). A review of questionnaire measures for assessing the social climate in prisons and forensic psychiatric hospitals. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 60(12), 1376-1405.
  • de Vries, M. (2015). Ward climate and (long term) forensic care - (How and why) should ward climate differ between forensic facilities? Web source:


  • Campbell, R., Allan, St., Sims, P. (2014). Service attachment: The relative contributions of ward climate perceptions and attachment anxiety and avoidance in male inpatients with psychosis. Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health, 24(1), 49-59.
  • Dickens, L. G., Suesse, M., Snyman, P., Picchioni, M. (2014). Associations between ward climate and patient characteristics in a secure forensic mental health service. The Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology, 25(2), 195-211.
  • Eggert, J. E., Kelly, S. P., Margiotta, D.T., Hegvik, D. K., Vaher, K. A., & Tamiko Kaya, R. (2014). Person– environment interaction in a new secure forensic state psychiatric hospital. Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 32(4), 527-538
  • Milsom, S. A., Freestone, M., Duller, R., Bouman, M., & Taylor, C. (2014). Factor structure of the Essen Climate Evaluation Schema measure of social climate in a UK medium-security setting. Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health, 24(2), 86–99.
  • Willets, L., Mooney, P., Blagden, N. (2014). Social climate in learning disability services. Journal of Intellectual Disabilities and Offending Behaviour, 5(1), 24-37(14).
  • Long, C., Bell, N., Carr, A., Cairns, L., Webb, A., & Collins, L. (2014). The benefits of environmental change in a secure service for people with intellectual disabilities. Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities, 8(5), 309-320.


  • Braham, L. G., Heasley, J. F., & Akiens, S. (2013). An evaluation of night confinement in a high secure
    Mental Health Review Journal, 18(1), 21-31.
  • Livingston, J. D., Nijdam-Jones, A., Lapsley, S., Calderwood, C., & Brink, J. (2013). Supporting recovery by improving patient engagement in a forensic mental health hospital: Results from a demonstration droject. Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association. 19(3), 132-145.
  • MacInnes, D., Kinane, C., Beer, D., Parrott, J., Craig, T., Eldridge, S., Marsh, I., Krotofil, J., & Priebe, S. (2013). Study to assess the effect of a structured communication approach on quality of life in secure mental health settings (Comquol): study protocol for a pilot cluster randomized trial. Trials, 14:257
  • Taylor, J., & Trout, S. (2013). Lessons from the front line: working with offenders with learning disability and personality disorder in a high secure therapeutic community. Mental Health Review Journal, 18, 44-52.


  • Alderman, N., & Groucott, L. (2012). Measurement of social climate within neurobehavioural rehabilitation services using the EssenCES. Neuropsychological Rehabilitation: An International Journal. 22(5), 768-93.
  • Day, A., Casey, S., Vess, J., & Huisy, G. (2012). Assessing the therapeutic climate of prisons. Criminal Justice and Behaviour, 39(2), 156-168.
  • Livingston, J. D., Nijdam-Jones, A., & Brink, J. (2012). A tale of two cultures: examining patient-centered care in a forensic mental health hospital. The Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology,
    (3), 345-360.
  • Maguire, T., Young, R., Martin, T., (2012). Seclusion reduction in a forensic mental health setting. Journal of Psychiatric & Mental Health Nursing, 19(2), 97-106.
  • Powis, B., Walton, C., & Randhawa, K. (2012). Exploring the Treatment Integrity of Custodial Addiction Therapeutic Communities. Ministry of Justice Research Series No 9/12. Abgerufen von
  • Quinn, M., Thomas, C., Chester, V. (2012). The Essen Climate Evaluation Schema measure of social climate in a secure service for people with intellectual disabilities. Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities, 6(4), 171 – 178.
  • Tighe, J., & Gudjonsson, G. H. (2012). See, Think, Act Scale: preliminary development and validation of a measure of relational security in medium- and low-secure units. The Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology, 23(2), 184-199
  • Tonkin, M., Howells, K., Ferguson, E., Clark, A., Newberry, M., & Schalast, N. (2012). Lost in translation? Psychometric properties and construct validity of the English Essen Climate Evaluation Schema (EssenCES) social climate questionnaire. Psychological Assessment, 24(3), 573-80.
  • 野田 寿恵 , 杉山 直也 , 松本 佳子 [] 精神医学 2012, 54(2), 211-217 (Psychometric Properties of
    the Japanese Version of the Essen Climate Evaluation Schema (Essen CES) [in Japanese]


  • Bressington, D., Stewart, B., Beer, D., & MacInnes, D. (2011). Levels of service user satisfaction in secure settings – A survey of the association between perceived social climate, perceived therapeutic relationship and satisfaction with forensic services. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 48(11), 1349–1356.
  • Day, A., Casey, S., Vess, J., Huisy, G. (2011). Assessing the social climate of prisons. Criminology Research Council, Canberra, ACT. Abgerufen von
  • Long, C. G., Anagnostakis, K., Fox, E., Silaule, P., Somers, J., West, R., & Webster, A. (2011). Social climate along the pathway of care in women's secure mental health service: Variation with level
    of security, patient motivation, therapeutic alliance and level of disturbance.
    Criminal Behaviour & Mental Health, 21(3), 202-214.
  • MacInnes, D., Beer, D., Keeble, P., Rees, D., & Reid, L. (2011). Service-user involvement in forensic mental health care research: Areas to consider when developing a collaborative study. Journal of Mental Health, 20(5), 464-72,
  • Tonkin, M., & Howells, K. (2011). Evaluating regimes and environments. In K. Sheldon, J. Davies, & K. Howells (Eds.) Research in practice for forensic professionals (249-270). Abingdon, UK: Routledge.

2010 - 2007

  • Ching, H., Daffern, M., Martin, T., & Thomas, S. (2010). Reducing the use of seclusion in a forensic psychiatric hospital: assessing the impact on aggression, therapeutic climate and staff confidence. The Journal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology, 21, 737-760.
  • Howells, K., Tonkin, M., Milburn, C., Lewis, J., Draycot, S., Cordwell, J., Price, M., Davies, S., Schalast, N.
    (2009), The EssenCES measure of social climate: a preliminary validation and normative data
    in UK high secure hospital settings.
    Criminal Behaviour & Mental Health, 19(5), 308-320.
  • Schalast, N., Redies, M., Collins, M., Stacey, J., & Howells, K. (2008). EssenCES, a short questionnaire for assessing the social climate of forensic psychiatric wards. Criminal Behavior and Mental Health, 14, 49–58
  • Schalast, N. (2008). A short questionnaire for assessing the social climate on forensic psychiatric wards. Psychiatrische Praxis, 35(4), 175-81.
  • Day, A., Howells, K., Casey, S., Ward, T., & Birgden, A. (2007). Treatment readiness: An overview of Australasian work. Issues in Forensic Psychology, 7, 21-25.

Norbert Schalast, Dr. rer.nat.
Psychologist, Senior Researcher
Institute of Forensic Psychiatry
LVR-Psychiatric Hospital
University Duisburg-Essen
POB 103043
D - 45030 Essen
Tel.:  +49 (0) 201 / 83889 – 500

The information available on this website shall be expanded in the future. Users of the instrument are welcome to contribute experiences and questions.

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