People conceptualize their identities, in part, by their social roles. We defined the construct of “selfing” as excessive identification with a social role. This over-identification may influence feelings of psychological stress; research to understand this theorized association requires reliable and valid measurement of the selfing construct.
The Selfing Scale was developed and validated using both classical and Rasch methodology with a large sample (N = 1882) including undergraduate students and MTurk workers. Two randomized samples (n = 400 each) were extracted and subjected to Rasch analysis to ensure replicability of the results. Additional independent samples were used to establish test–retest reliability and validity by examining relationships with other measures relevant to the self.
An exploratory factor analysis on the initial 27 items yielded a 25-item solution with acceptable psychometric properties that supported a single overarching selfing factor. To achieve the best Rasch model fit, we uniformly rescored disordered thresholds, removed 7 misfitting items, and used testlet models to address local dependency resulting in a more robust 18-item scale. Conversion algorithms were also developed to transform ordinal scores into the interval-level metric to enhance accuracy of the scale. Selfing was negatively related to trait and interpersonal mindfulness and frequency of meditation among mindfulness practitioners, and positively related to psychological stress among non-practitioners.
This study developed a reliable and valid Selfing Scale to measure over-identification with the self that is useful to investigate the impact of selfing on an individual’s health and well-being.