The Compassion Scale

Date

2010-12

Authors

Pommier, Elizabeth Ann

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Abstract

These studies define a Buddhist conceptualization of compassion and describe the development of the Compassion Scale. The definition of compassion was adopted from Neff's (2003) model of self-compassion that proposes that the construct entails kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness. The six-factor structure was adopted from the Self-Compassion Scale (2003) representing positively and negatively worded items of the three components proposed to entail compassion. The six-factors for compassion are named: kindness vs. indifference, common humanity vs. separation, and mindfulness vs. disengagement. Study 1 was conducted to provide support for content validity. Study 2 was conducted to provide initial validation for the scale. Study 3 was conducted to cross-validate findings from the second study. Results provide evidence for the structure of the scale. Cronbach's alpha and split-half estimates suggest good reliability for both samples. Compassion was significantly correlated with compassionate love, wisdom, social connectedness, and empathy providing support for convergent validity. Factor analysis in both samples indicated good fit using Hu & Bentler (1998) criteria. Results suggest that the Compassion Scale is a psychometrically sound measure of compassion. Given that Buddhist concepts of compassion are receiving increased attention in psychology (e.g. Davidson, 2006; Gilbert, 2005, Goetz, 2010) this scale will hopefully prove useful in research that examines compassion from a non-Western perspective.

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