About us

The South African Personality Inventory (SAPI) was initiated in 2005 and developed over a period of nine years (2005-2014). The construction of this personality inventory was initiated by Prof. Deon Meiring, Prof Fons van de Vijver, Prof Ian Rothmann and Prof Deon de Bruin and was carried out by a team of student scholars (Masters & Doctral) coming from various Universities across South Africa. The SAPI was constructed by adopting a combined etic-emic approach (indigenous convergent) - approach that takes into account both universal and cultural-specific aspects of the eleven language groups (Afrikaans, English, isiXhosa, isiZulu, Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana, Siswati, isiNdebele, Tshivenda, Xitsonga) personalities as found in South Africa. The goal of the research team, when developing the SAPI, was to construct an inventory that is relevant to the South African multi-cultural context, and would meet legislative requirements - Employment Equity Act (1998), Section 8, (a), (b), (c), & (d) and scientific psychometric standard expected of established assessment instruments; in order to provide the South African society with a reliable, valid, and useful personality measure.


Main Collaborators

  • Deon Meiring
  • Fons Van de Vijver


  • Carin Hill
  • Alewyn Nel
  • Velichco Valchev
  • Byron Adams

Main Collaborators

Deon Meiring

Deon Meiring (1967) has a PhD Degree in Cross-Cultural Psychology from Tilburg University in the Netherlands. He is an Associate Professor at the Department of Human Resource Management, Faculty of Economic Management Sciences, University of Pretoria. In 2007 he was appointed Assistant Extraordinary Professor at the Department of Industrial Psychology at Stellenbosch University, a position he held until 2013.

Prof Meiring’s research examines industrial psychology and cross-cultural psychology in the workplace, with a focus on personnel psychology and assessment practice in multicultural settings. His research deals with workplace personality measurement, cross-cultural assessment, personnel selection and applied cross-cultural methodology. His research focus emanates from his PhD thesis ‘Bias and Equivalence of Psychological Measures in South Africa’ (2007), which assesses compliance of cognitive and personality tests in relation to Section 8 of the Employment Equity Act of 1998. A major research project that stemmed from his PhD is the South African Personality Inventory (SAPI) project, which focuses on the development of an indigenous personality inventory for all language groups in South Africa. In 2008 Prof Meiring established the Assessment Centre Research Focus Area at the Assessment Center Study Group (ASCG) in collaboration with the Department of Industrial Psychology at Stellenbosch University. The research aims to develop a center of academic excellence with regard to the study of assessment centres (AC) and their applied value in the South African context. In 2010 he received an honorary membership from the ACSG for his work in the AC field in South Africa. In 2013 Prof Meiring established a behaviour laboratory at the Department of Human Resource Management, where he train master students in ACs practice, conduct research and consult on ACs in industry (www.acatup.co.za).

Prof Meiring is the coordinator for the Master’s program in Industrial Psychology at the Department of Human Resource Management, he teaches at both the graduate (psychometrics) and postgraduate level (advance assessment practice). He has published scientific articles (20) and book chapters (4), and has presented his research at local and international conferences. From 2005 to 2014 he co-supervised eight master’s students and one PhD student at North-West University. At Stellenbosch University he also supervised three master’s dissertations. He currently supervises six master’s students and two PhD students at the University of Pretoria. From 1997 to 2013 he supervised 18 inter psychologists completing their internships in Industrial Psychology.

Prof Meiring is a member of a number of local and international bodies. These include the Society of Industrial and Organizational Psychology of South Africa (SIOPSA), the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP) in the USA, and the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology (IACCP). In 2013 he was elected onto the executive committee of SIOPSA responsible for the Cross-Cultural interest group. In 2008 he became an executive member of the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology (IACCP), and in 2012 was selected as their Central and Southern Africa regional representative.

Prof Meiring served as host and chairperson at the 3rd International Coping with Stress, Resilience and Engagement Conference in September 2011, held in Pretoria, South Africa. Prof Meiring and Prof Leon Jackson from North-West University were joint hosts and chairpersons of the 21st International Congress of the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology (IACCP), held in July 2012 at Stellenbosch University, South Africa. In 2013 Prof Meiring served as chairperson of the Local Organizing Committee at the First World Conference on Personality that was held in Stellenbosch. Prof Meiring is also an executive committee member of the World Foundation of Personality Psychology. Prof Meiring received the C3 rating from the NRF in 2014. 

Fons van de Vijver

Fons van de Vijver (1952) has studied psychology at Tilburg University in the Netherlands. He holds a Ph.D. from the same university.  He holds a chair in cross-cultural psychology at Tilburg University, the Netherlands and an extraordinary chair at North-West University, South Africa, and the University of Queensland, Australia.

He has published over 360 publications, mainly in the domain of cross-cultural psychology. The main topics in his research involve bias and equivalence, psychological acculturation and multiculturalism, cognitive similarities and differences, response styles, translations and adaptations. He is or has been supervising about 25 PhD studies and 5 post-doc studies. He has teaching experience in cross-cultural psychology and methods/statistics. He has presented keynotes and invited lectures at various conferences and workshops in various countries. He is one of the most frequently cited cross-cultural psychologists in Europe.

He has received grants from various Dutch institutions (such as NWO and WOTRO), European Union (Marie Curie), South African Netherlands Research Programme on Alternatives in Development, and South African National Research Foundation. He is member of the following professional organizations: International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology, International Association of Applied Psychology, European Association of Psychological Assessment, International Academy for Intercultural Research, and the International Test Commission.

He is the former editor of the Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, and serves on the board of various journals; he has evaluated manuscripts for more than 85 journals as ad-hoc reviewer.

He has been vice-dean for research and vice-dean for education of his faculty and vice-director of Babylon, the interdisciplinary research center for studies of multicultural societies at Tilburg University. He was a former president of Division 2 (Assessment and Evaluation) of the International Association of Applied Psychology and is now President of the European Association of Psychological Assessment.

He is the 2013 recipient of the International Award of the American Psychological Association (for his contributions to international cooperation and to the advancement of knowledge of psychology).


Carin Hill

Carin Hill (1980) is an NRF rated researcher (Y2) and has a PhD Degree in Industrial Psychology from North-West University, South Africa. She is currently a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, Faculty of Management, University of Johannesburg, South Africa. From 2008 to 2009 she was appointed as a Senior Lecturer at the North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, South Africa.

Dr Hill’s PhD thesis, ‘Work-Home Interaction and Well-being in the SAPS’ focused on translating four frequently used Work-Home Interaction and Well-being measuring instruments from English into Afrikaans and Setswana. Besides the general research questions relating to work-home interaction and wellbeing, the question regarding instrument equivalence and cross-cultural applicability interested her immensely.

In 2008 she met with the collaborators of the South African Personality Inventory (SAPI) project, and joined the project. In 2010 she received a two-year research grant for her work on the SAPI project. Dr Hill is the PhD qualifications leader in Industrial Psychology at the Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, and teaches at both graduate (research methodology, psychological assessment, consumer behaviour) and postgraduate level (quantitative research design and analysis).

She has published a few scientific articles (11) and presented her research findings at various national and international conferences. Since 2008 she has supervised 16 Masters and one Doctoral students at the North-West University and the University of Johannesburg respectively. Currently she is supervising two Masters and one Doctoral students at the University of Johannesburg.

Alewyn Nel

Jan Alewyn Nel (1981) holds a Ph.D degree in Industrial Psychology from the North-West University and is currently a senior lecturer at the School of Human Resource Sciences (Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences) at the same university since January 2009. He holds memberships from three professional boards (Health Professional Council of South Africa; Society of Industrial and Organisational Psychology of South Africa; and South African Board of People Practises). He serves on the regional committee of the Society for Industrial and Organisational Psychology of South Africa (SIOPSA) North West.

He teaches psychometrics, psychometric evaluation, organisational behaviour and research methodology to third year and honours students. He act as university intern supervisor for various industrial psychology students during the course of their internships (intern psychometrist and intern industrial psychologist). Additionally, he is involved with community projects pertaining to the leadership development and study methods at primary and secondary schools. He is also the selection co-ordinator for the honour’s programme and master’s programme at the School of Human Resource Sciences. In the last two years he was chosen as one of the Top 20% academic performers of his faculty.

His current research focuses on cross-cultural psychology elements within the context of South Africa, with more specific focus on the development and validation of new instruments in various domains. So far he published 15 peer-reviewed national and international articles, and 2 accredited conference proceedings. His research work was presented at various national and international conferences (21 presentations) and he acted as convener at two symposiums held at two international conferences. He serves as reviewer for two national journals and one international journal. Already 16 master students completed their dissertations under his supervision and 1 PhD student concluded her thesis with him as her main promoter. Currently, he supervises 15 master students and 5 PhD students.

Velichko Valchev

Velichko H. Valchev, born and raised in Bulgaria, obtained his BSc in psychology at the University of Athens, Greece, and his MSc and PhD at Tilburg University, The Netherlands. He completed both his master thesis and his doctoral dissertation in the framework of the SAPI project. He is interested in personality, language, values and beliefs across cultures and has several publications on topics in these areas. He is currently working on a postdoc project at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, studying personality and behavior prediction across ethnocultural groups in South Africa.

Byron Adams

Byron G. Adams has just (2014) completed his PhD in Cross-Cultural Psychology at Tilburg University, The Netherlands (UVT). His career in academia started in 2006, when he was appointed as Lecturer at UJ in the IPPM Department, after completing his Honours Degree. He then subsequently completed his Master's degree in Commerce in Industrial Psychology in 2009. He has lectured various courses on both undergraduate and post-graduate level and his main field of interests are Identity, Personality, Cross-Cultural Measurement, Organizational Psychology, and Transformation.

Latest News

The ECP 2015, 14th European Congress of Psychology, will take place in Milan on 7-10 July 2015, under the auspices of EFPA

Invited Symposia Combined emic-etic approach to culture-sensitive personality assessment Convenor: Fanny M. Cheung (China) Presenters: Jianxin Zhang, Weiqiao Fan, Qian Wang, Fons van de Vijver, Velichko Valchev -Personality structure in South Africa: An emic—etic approach -Traits and daily behavior in different cultural groups in South Africa  

New Book Chapter: The Big Five of Personality, Universality of

Fetvadjiev, V.H., van de Vijver, F.J.R., 2015. Five Factor Model of Personality, Universality of. In: James D. Wright (editor-in-chief), International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, 2nd edition, Vol 9. Oxford: Elsevier. pp. 249–253. ISBN: 9780080970868          

Symposium Submission for International Convention of Psychological Science, 12–14 March 2015 , Amsterdam, The Netherlands:

Symposium: Personality across Cultures: Trait Meanings, Situational Consistency, and Predictive Value  Predictive Value of Personality for Daily Behavior across Ethnic Groups in South Africa V. H. Fetvadjiev, University of Pretoria, velichko.fetvadjiev@gmail.com, Deon Meiring, University of Pretoria, Fons J. R. van de Vijver, Tilburg University  

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Recent Publications

A culture-informed instrument for the coun...

Psychological Assessment

Psycholexical Studies: Bridging emic and e...

The 22nd International Congress for Cross-Cul...

Beyond Agreeableness: Social-relational pe...

Journal of Research in Personality

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