When ‘negativity’ becomes obstructive: a novel exploration of the two-factor model of the Self-Compassion Scale and a comparison of self-compassion and self-criticism interventions


  • Michail Mantzios Birmingham City University
  • Anastasija Koneva Birmingham City University
  • Helen Egan Birmingham City University

Słowa kluczowe:

self-compassion, self-compassion scale, self-criticism, interventions


Self-compassion is a tendency to respond to personal feelings of distress in a kind and understanding way, and to become aware that facing difficulties and adversity is part of a common human experience that is shared by all humans. The Self Compassion Scale (SCS) includes negative items measuring self-judgement, isolation and over-identification, which are at the opposite end of the spectrum to self-kindness, common humanity and mindfulness. Some researchers have argued that the link between self-compassion and psychopathology is inflated by the inclusion of these negative items. Moving away from factorial structures and advanced statistics used in recent research, we present a different way of exploring the conceptualisation of self-compassion theory and the way it is measured.

Participants and procedure
Study 1 set out to support the inclusion (or exclusion) of the negative items within the SCS, by investigating the correlation between the negative items and the positive items altered to reflect the exact opposite of the original positive items of the scale (i.e., self-unkindness, disjointed humanity, and mindlessness). Study 2 was an experiment exploring differences between self-compassion and self-criticism 5-minute interventions on state self-compassion, state mindfulness and state anxiety. The interventions were separated to represent the positive or negative elements, rather than a mixture of the interventions.

If the main argumentation against the use of the overall score of the self-compassion scale is the inflation of the neg-ative items, then the results support the inclusion of the negative items within the SCS, as the altered positive items show a similar inflation to the original negative items when observing a significant positive relationship. No differences were found between the two interventions and the overall scores; nevertheless, mindfulness and self-judgment subscales appeared to significantly change only for the self-compassion group.

While the debate around the self-compassion scale continues, the literature emphasizing self-criticism does not translate into inflation as suggested, and does not propose effective practices. Explanations of findings, limitations and suggestions for future research are discussed.


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Jak cytować

Mantzios, M., Koneva, A., & Egan, H. (2020). When ‘negativity’ becomes obstructive: a novel exploration of the two-factor model of the Self-Compassion Scale and a comparison of self-compassion and self-criticism interventions. Current Issues in Personality Psychology, 8(4), 289–300. Pobrano z https://czasopisma.bg.ug.edu.pl/index.php/CIiPP/article/view/5317