The Development and Validation of the Compassion Scale

Assessment. 2020 Jan;27(1):21-39. doi: 10.1177/1073191119874108. Epub 2019 Sep 13.


This article presents a measure of compassion for others called the Compassion Scale (CS), which is based on Neff's theoretical model of self-compassion. Compassion was operationalized as experiencing kindness, a sense of common humanity, mindfulness, and lessened indifference toward the suffering of others. Study 1 (n = 465) describes the development of potential scale items and the final 16 CS items chosen based on results from analyses using bifactor exploratory structural equation modeling. Study 2 (n = 510) cross-validates the CS in a second student sample. Study 3 (n = 80) establishes test-retest reliability. Study 4 (n = 1,394) replicates results with a community sample, while Study 5 (n = 172) replicates results with a sample of meditators. Study 6 (n = 913) examines the finalized version of the CS in a community sample. Evidence regarding reliability, discriminant, convergent, construct, and known-groups validity for the CS is provided.

Keywords: Compassion Scale; Self-Compassion Scale; bifactor analyses; compassion; exploratory structural equation modeling; self-compassion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Community Participation
  • Empathy*
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mindfulness
  • Psychometrics
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Self Concept
  • Students
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards*
  • United States
  • Universities
  • Young Adult