A self-report scale measuring perceived compassion, in its embodied and functional aspects, will be presented, including preliminary psychometric validation results. There has been some debate as to whether compassion can be measured through self-report. Neff’s Self-Compassion Scale, possibly the most widely used instrument, operationalizes compassion in terms of mindfulness, common humanity, and self-kindness. Others (e.g., Gilbert) do not think that compassion can be measured directly. Gilbert, instead, measures fear of compassion in both giving and receiving and toward oneself. This scale attempts to measure compassion as a multidimensional construct based on a secular interpretation of Mahayana Buddhist principles. Some of the relevant dimensions include awareness of suffering in its various levels (e.g., physical, psychological, and spiritual discomfort), equanimity, compassion self-efficacy, and compassion outcome expectations. This scale will be the first to give a comprehensive secular operationalization of both compassion and suffering. Psychometric challenges and limitations of measuring compassion will also be discussed.

Dent Gitchel

University of Arkansas at Little Rock