The Compassion Motivation and Action Scales (CMAS) encompass two dimensions assessing self-compassion (CMAS-self) and compassion to others (CMAS-other; Steindl et al., 2021). In clinical practice it can be helpful to use the CMAS as an aid for formulation, given that compassionate motivation has been found to be associated with many benefits for wellbeing, including physiologically (Kim et al., 2020; Klimecki et al., 2014; Matos et al., 2017), psychologically (Kirby, 2016; MacBeth & Gumley, 2012), and relationally (Crocker & Canevello, 2012; Kirby & Laczko, 2017; Seppala et al., 2012).
The CMAS-other has three subscales:
The CMAS-other was developed by Steindl et al. (2021) using an initial item pool that was generated on the basis of a review of existing measures in combination with the dimensions of motivational language in motivational interviewing. The initial item pool was disseminated to international experts in compassion and/or motivational interviewing literature for feedback and to ensure that wording and content were culturally relevant. Following this process, the initial pool of items was evaluated via exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis to reduce the items further.
There was very good internal consistency present for the CMAS-other with an overall Chronbach’s alpha of 0.88 and subscale consistencies of 0.87 (Intention), 0.88 (Distress tolerance), and 0.96 (Action).
For 621 adults from Australia, USA, UK, and New Zealand, the mean score was 61.16 (SD = 10.22) for the CMAS-other, 17.19 (SD = 3.24) for the Intention subscale, 17.08 (SD = 3.27) for the Distress Tolerance subscale, and 26.90 (SD = 7.43) for the Action subscale (Steindl et al., 2021).
All items are summed to provide an overall score, with higher scores indicative of more self-compassion. Subscale scores are also provided to enable a comparison between subscales:
A normative percentile for the total score and subscales are calculated based on a normative sample (Steindl et al., 2021), indicating how the respondent scored in relation to a typical pattern of responding for adults. For example, a percentile of 83 or less indicates the individual has more self-compassion than 83 percent of the normal population.
Results are presented in a graph, which indicates the percentile for total compassion and sub-scales compared to the normative sample, with a dotted line at 50 indicating average compassion towards others.
Steindl, S. R., Tellegen, C. L., Filus, A., Seppälä, E., Doty, J. R., & Kirby, J. N. (2021). The Compassion Motivation and Action Scales: a self-report measure of compassionate and self-compassionate behaviours. Australian Psychologist, 56(2), 93–110. https://doi.org/10.1080/00050067.2021.1893110