The Self-Compassion Scale – Short Form (SCS-SF) is a 12-item self-report measure that is used by adults to measure their capacity for self-compassion – the ability to hold one’s feelings of suffering with a sense of warmth, connection and concern.
Research has shown that self-compassion is associated with psychological well-being and is an important protective factor that fosters emotional resilience (Raes et al., 2011). For example, higher levels of self-compassion are typically related to greater psychological health as demonstrated by less depression and anxiety and greater happiness and optimism (Raes, 2011; Raes et al., 2011). Scores on the SCS-SF are related to measures of psychological distress, social support, perfectionism, suicide and self-harm (Hayes et al., 2016). It was also found that clients who had previously seriously considered suicide, made a suicide attempt, or engaged in other self-injurious behaviour evidenced more self-disparagement and less self-care, as measured by the SCS-SF, than clients without such histories (Hayes et al., 2016).
The SCS-SF has two subscales:
Clinicians could administer the SCS-SF repeatedly over the course of treatment to determine if scores are changing. One would hope that the unconditional positive regard that clinicians demonstrate toward clients might be internalised by clients, thereby fostering more accepting and less critical attitudes toward the self.
The SCS–SF demonstrated adequate internal consistency (Cronbach’s alpha ≥ 0.86) and a strong correlation with the long form SCS (r = 0.97; Raes et al., 2011). CFA by Raes et al. (2011) supported the same six-factor structure as found in the long form (Self-Kindness, Self-Judgement, Common Humanity, Isolation, Mindfulness, Over-Identification), as well as a single higher-order factor of self-compassion. However, the internal consistencies for the SCS–SF subscales were relatively low (ranging between 0.54 and 0.75) and it was therefore not recommended to use subscale interpretation for the SCS-SF. For total score information, however, the SCS–SF has good internal consistency and a near-perfect correlation with the long SCS. The test–retest reliability over a span of five months was found to be .71 (Raes et al., 2011).
Hayes et al. (2016) determined, using PCA and CFA with over 1,600 university students who sought psychotherapy, that the SCS-SF has two factors; Self-Care and Self-Disparagement
Percentiles are calculated based on comparison to a clinical sample with no previous suicidal ideation (n = 1054):
The total score is an overall indication of self-compassion, with a higher score indicating more self-compassion. The total score is calculated by summing Self-Care and the inverse of the Self-Disparagement score. Therefore, high levels of Total Self Compassion are characterised by high Self-Care and low Self-Disparagement. “Average Scores” are also presented, which is the sum of all items divided by the number of items.
Two subscales are presented:
Norms are presented in comparisons to a clinical sample who were seeking psychotherapy, but who had no previous suicidal ideation (Hayes et al., 2016). A “Clinical Percentile” of 50 indicates an average level of self-compassion, self-disparagement, or self-care compared to this sample of people seeking psychotherapy.
Raes, F., Pommier, E., Neff,K. D., & Van Gucht, D. (2011). Construction and factorial validation of a short form of the Self-Compassion Scale. Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy. 18, 250-255.
Bratt, A., & Fagerström, C. (2020). Self-compassion in old age: confirmatory factor analysis of the 6-factor model and the internal consistency of the Self-compassion scale-short form. Aging & Mental Health, 24(4), 642–648. https://doi.org/10.1080/13607863.2019.1569588
Hayes, J. A., Lockard, A. J., Janis, R. A., & Locke, B. D. (2016). Construct validity of the Self-Compassion Scale-Short Form among psychotherapy clients. Counselling Psychology Quarterly, 29(4), 405–422. https://doi.org/10.1080/09515070.2016.1138397
Kotera, Y., & Sheffield, D. (2020). Revisiting the Self-compassion Scale-Short Form: Stronger Associations with Self-inadequacy and Resilience. SN Comprehensive Clinical Medicine, 2(6), 761–769. https://doi.org/10.1007/s42399-020-00309-w
Raes, F. (2011). The Effect of Self-Compassion on the Development of Depression Symptoms in a Non-clinical Sample. Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, 2, 33–36. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-011-0040-y
Sutton, E., Schonert-Reichl, K. A., Wu, A. D., & Lawlor, M. S. (2018). Evaluating the Reliability and Validity of the Self-Compassion Scale Short Form Adapted for Children Ages 8–12. Child Indicators Research, 11(4), 1217–1236. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12187-017-9470-y