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20-02-2018 | ORIGINAL PAPER | Uitgave 6/2018

Mindfulness 6/2018

The Unconditional Self-Kindness Scale: Assessing the Ability to Respond with Kindness to Threats to the Self

Mindfulness > Uitgave 6/2018
Bruce W. Smith, Anne Guzman, Kelly Erickson


Despite psychology’s awareness of the benefit of viewing oneself positively, there is a dearth of scales on self-kindness, with one notable example in a subscale of self-compassion. The purpose of this study was to develop and test a unique measure of self-kindness. The measure is called the Unconditional Self-Kindness (USK) scale because it assesses self-kindness in the context of common and potential harmful threats to the self. These threats include (1) being criticized and rejected by another person, (2) failing or making a mistake, and (3) becoming aware of personal flaws and imperfection. A total of 1452 undergraduate participants filled out the USK scale and a range of mental health, risk, and protective factors. The results showed that the USK scale was internally consistent, loaded on a single latent variable, demonstrated test-retest reliability, and was related in the expected directions to the mental health, psychological well-being, and variety of risk and protective factor measures. In addition, the USK scale still predicted several mental health predictors when controlling for protective factors including grit, hope, resilience, self-esteem, and social support. Finally, mean USK scores were significantly higher in men than women and in Native American participants than all other ethnicities and significantly lower in non-Hispanic White participants than all other ethnicities.

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