Development and Preliminary Validation of a Self-compassion Measure
Research and clinical interest in self-compassion has grown due to its positive links with a variety of physical and psychological health outcomes. This burgeoning interest calls for measures of self-compassion that are theoretically supported and empirically validated. The purpose of this project was to (1) develop a new self-compassion measure, the Self-compassion Inventory (SCI), and (2) test its psychometric properties. To obtain feedback on potential SCI items, a cognitive interviewing study was completed with cancer patients (n = 10). Qualitative findings suggested that, in most cases, items were easily understood and participants’ reasoning for their responses aligned with the intention of each item. After altering certain items based on participant feedback, the scale was then tested with a group of adults with breast, gastrointestinal, lung, and prostate cancer (n = 404). Confirmatory factor analyses suggested a unidimensional structure and internal consistency reliability was excellent. Construct validity of the measure was established through correlations with other psychological variables hypothesized to be related to self-compassion. Evidence of the incremental validity of the SCI relative to the Self-Compassion Scale Short-Form (SCS-SF) also was obtained. For example, the SCI showed smaller correlations with negative psychological variables (e.g., depressive symptoms, anxiety) than the SCS-SF. In supplemental analyses, a 5-item version of the measure, the Brief Self-compassion Inventory (BSCI) was tested and found to have a unidimensional structure, excellent internal consistency, and evidence of validity. Furthermore, measurement invariance testing of the BSCI indicated that the measure could be used across populations of varying genders, cancer types, and stages of illness. Through robust testing, the SCI and BSCI were determined to be psychometrically sound and can be used in both clinical and research settings.