The Development and Psychometric Evaluation of Two New Scales of Self-Compassion for Preadolescents


  • Victoria S. Barclay-Timmis Orcid
  • Lorelle J. Burton Orcid
  • Gavin Beccaria Orcid


There are currently no parent-reported scales adapted or validated to measure self-compassion in preadolescent children despite growing interest in the application of this construct in both illness and wellness fields. Two-new measures of self-compassion—modelled from Neff’s Self-Compassion Scale—were designed and pilot tested to provide preliminary evidence of validity with preadolescents aged between 9 and 12 years (n = 193) and their parents (n = 108). Participants completed the Self-Compassion Scale-Preadolescent (SCS-P) or the Self-Compassion Scale-Preadolescent-Parent Report (SCS-P-PR), along with measures of resilience and psychosocial wellbeing. Factor analyses indicted that both the SCS-P and SCS-P-PR measured two statistically and theoretically distinct constructs: compassionate self-responding and uncompassionate self-responding. Both types of self-responding were related to most of the measures of psychosocial wellbeing and resilience in the expected directions. Importantly, the SCS-P-PR is the first parent-reported measure of self-compassion to be introduced in the literature; moderate correlations with the SCS-P suggest that self-compassionate attitudes and behaviours in children are visible to their parents. Should further validation research replicate these promising preliminary findings, the SCS-P and the SCS-P-PR have potential to make valuable contributions to the assessments available to researchers investigating self-compassion in preadolescent children. This research adds to the growing body of literature that cautions against the common practice of viewing self-compassion as one overarching construct. It is recommended that future research take a qualitative approach to enable deeper exploration of both the positive and negative elements of self-compassionate responding in cohorts of children.