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Development and first validation of a self-compassion and self-criticism scale for patients with chronic and life-threatening physical conditions

Volkov, Nastassja (2020) Development and first validation of a self-compassion and self-criticism scale for patients with chronic and life-threatening physical conditions.

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Full Text Status:Access to this publication is restricted
Embargo date:2 October 2022
Abstract:Background: The negative influence of self-criticism and positive impact of self-compassion on mental and physical health have been established in research. However, no comprehensive theoretical frameworks and validated measures of self-compassion and self-criticism in the context of facing a chronic or life-threatening physical condition exist yet. It is important to know the various ways in which patients are self-critical and self-compassionate to extend research about maladaptive responses and adaptive coping strategies and to facilitate intervention development and clinical practice. Aim: The present study aimed at developing and validating a questionnaire for self-compassion and self-criticism for patients with chronic and life-threatening physical conditions. Method: Based on a literature review and analysis of interviews with cancer patients about self-criticism, a theoretical framework was established. Items and scales were developed in iterative rounds. To validate the scales, a cross-sectional online survey was conducted in a sample of patients with various chronic and life-threatening physical conditions (n = 285). Next to the newly developed scales, the MHC-SF, PHQ-9, SCS-SF, and CERQ Self-Blame Subscale were used. The factorial structures of the scales were investigated through exploratory factor analysis. Convergent and divergent validity were examined through Pearson regressions. Multiple regression analyses were used to investigate added variance by the new scales in explaining mental wellbeing (MHC-SF) and depression (PHQ-9). Results: The Self-Compassion and Self-Criticism Scale for Patients with Chronic and Life-Threatening Physical Conditions (SCCC) was developed. The SCCC-Compassion consists of the subscales Compassionate Self-Regulation (16 items), Use of Support (7 items), and Compassionate Boundary-Guarding (4 items). The SCCC-Criticism includes the subscales Harshness (9 items), Guilt (5 items), Self-Critical Cognitions (4 items), and Shame (9 items). Analysis indicated adequate construct validity and internal consistency reliability. Cronbach’s alpha values ranged from .77 to .86 for SCCC-Compassion subscales and from .71 to .91 for SCCC-Criticism subscales. Significant correlations were found between the SCCC-Compassion and the MHC-SF (r = .51) and SCS-SF (r = .46) and the PHQ-9 (r = -.33). The SCCC-Criticism correlated with the SCS-SF (r = -.57), MHC-SF (r = -.42) and PHQ-9 (r = .59). The SCCC added to explanations of positive mental health and depression beyond the influence of established general measures of self-criticism and self-compassion. Conclusion: The study suggests that the SCCC is a psychometrically sound and theoretically valid measure of condition-related self-compassion and self-criticism. The scales can be applied in research, intervention development and evaluation, and clinical practice with patients with chronic conditions.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
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