Adapting and validating a measure of diabetes-specific self-compassion

J Diabetes Complications. 2018 Feb;32(2):196-202. doi: 10.1016/j.jdiacomp.2017.10.009. Epub 2017 Oct 26.


Aims: Self-compassion (SC), or treating oneself with kindness when dealing with personal challenges, has not been rigorously examined in people with T1D. SC has been shown to buffer against negative emotions and to be linked to improved health outcomes, but diabetes-specific SC has not been studied. This study aimed to adapt the Self-Compassion Scale and validate it for a diabetes-specific population.

Methods: We developed and validated a diabetes-specific version of the Self-Compassion Scale (Neff, 2003) in a sample of adults with T1D (N=542; 65% female; 97% non-Hispanic White; M age 41, SD=15.7; M A1c=7.3, SD=1; 72% insulin pump users; 50% continuous glucose monitoring [CGM] users). Confirmatory factor analyses (CFA), and reliability and construct validity analyses were conducted. Validity measures included diabetes distress, diabetes empowerment, diabetes numeracy, and A1c.

Results: A two-factor bi-factor structure showed best fit, providing support for use of the adapted scale (SCS-D) as a unitary construct. The 19-item unidimensional SCS-D demonstrated excellent internal consistency (ɑ=0.94; range of item-total correlations: 0.52-0.71) and construct validity. As hypothesized, higher SCS-D was associated with less distress, greater empowerment, and lower A1c, and was not associated with numeracy.

Conclusions: The SCS-D is a reliable and valid measure of diabetes-specific self-compassion in adults with T1D.

Keywords: Confirmatory factor analysis; Mindfulness; Scale validation; Self-compassion; Type 1 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Blood Glucose Self-Monitoring / psychology
  • Blood Glucose Self-Monitoring / standards
  • Calibration
  • Cost of Illness
  • Diabetes Mellitus / psychology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / therapy
  • Empathy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin Infusion Systems / psychology
  • Insulin Infusion Systems / standards
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Participation / psychology
  • Psychometrics* / methods
  • Psychometrics* / standards
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Self Concept*
  • Self Efficacy
  • Stress, Psychological / diagnosis
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires* / standards


  • Blood Glucose