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Measuring Self-Compassion in Medical Students: Factorial Validation of the Self-Compassion Scale–Short Form (SCS-SF)
The primary purpose of this study was to evaluate the factorial structure of the short-form version of the self-compassion scale (SCS-SF) and validate its use with medical students.
Two hundred medical students completed an electronic questionnaire containing the 12-item SCS-SF and the 16-item Oldenburg burnout inventory. The authors performed reliability and confirmatory factor analyses (CFA) to evaluate the internal consistency and factorial structure of the SCS-SF scores, and correlational analyses to examine relationships of self-compassion with student engagement and exhaustion.
The internal consistency of the SCS-SF was 0.86. Self-compassion scores were positively correlated with engagement scores (r = 0.24; p < 0.01) and negatively correlated with exhaustion scores (r = − 0.44; p < 0.001). The CFA results for the two-factor model (formed by three positive and three negative components) indicated an improved fit over the single-factor model. The positive factor (self-compassion) was positively correlated with engagement scores (r = 0.17; p < 0.05) and negatively correlated with exhaustion scores (r = − 0.32; p < 0.001). The negative factor (self-criticism) was negatively correlated with engagement scores (r = − 0.25; p < 0.001) and positively correlated with exhaustion scores (r = 0.44; p < 0.001).
The SCS-SF scores had good internal consistency and expected relations with student engagement and exhaustion. Although the single, general self-compassion factorial structure had an acceptable fit with the data, the hierarchical two-factor structure of the SCS-SF provides support for the idea that distinguishing between self-compassion and self-criticism in medical students may be important.
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