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Alternative models of the Czech version of the Self-Compassion Scale (SCS-26-CZ)

Jan Benda1

1Department of Psychology, Charles University in Prague

E-mail: psychoterapeut@gmail.com

Abstract

Background. Benda and Reichová (2016) recently published the Czech version of the Self-Compassion Scale.

Because of the results of the confirmatory factor analyses (CFA), they recommended that six problematic items

from this scale were omitted and the 20-item Czech version of the Self-Compassion Scale (SCS-CZ) was to

be used instead. Inspired by Neff, Tóth-Király and Colosimo's study (in print) which argues for the use of the

Exploratory Structural Equation Modeling (ESEM) in dimensionality studies of the SCS, I decided to test

6 new ESEM models of the Czech version of the Self-Compassion Scale (SCS-26-CZ) in this study. Methods.

The sample of 5368 participants from Benda and Reichová's (2016) study was used to test the models. All

analyses were performed with Mplus 7. The following fit indices were used to indicate the global fit of the

models to the data: the chi-square test, the CFI, the TLI, the RMSEA and the WRMR. Parameter estimates of

the models were examined. For bifactor models, the following indices were computed: the PUC, the ECV, the

omega, (ω), the omega hierarchical (ωh) and the omega hierarchical subscale (ωhs). Results. The one-factor

ESEM model and the two-factor ESEM model showed a poor fit with the data. The six factor ESEM model,

the bifactor ESEM model, the two-bifactor ESEM model and the full two-tier ESEM model showed

an acceptable fit. The six factor ESEM model, however, was problematic due to the presence of multiple cross-

loadings. The bifactor ESEM model and the two-bifactor ESEM model were below the expected benchmark

for the ωh and the ECV. Conclusion. The full two-tier ESEM model of the 26-item Czech version of the Self-

compassion scale (SCS-26-CZ) showed acceptable fit in a sample of 5368 participants (see Benda, Reichová,

2016) as well as acceptable model-based reliability and dimensionality. The 26-item Czech version of the Self-

Compassion Scale (SCS-26-CZ) can thus be used as a measure of compassionate self-responding and reduced

uncompassionate self-responding.

Keywords: self-compassion, self-coldness, Self-Compassion Scale, bifactor analysis, two-tier model

Introduction

The Self-Compassion Scale (SCS; Neff, 2003) is so far the most often used measure of self-

compassion (Neff, Tóth-Király, Colosimo, in print). Benda and Reichová (2016) recently translated

the SCS into Czech (with a back-translation procedure) and tested four different models of the factor

structure of the Czech version of the SCS in a sample of 5368 participants: one-factor model (all

2

items load onto one factor); six-factor model (items load onto six factors); hierarchical model (six

factors load onto one factor) and three-factor model (items load onto three factors based on three

theoretically proposed components of self-compassion). Because the confirmatory factor analysis

with maximum likelihood estimation in their survey 1 (N = 5368) confirmed none of the models,

Benda and Reichová (2016) decided to remove six problematic items (items 3, 9, 15, 21, 22 and 23)

from the Czech version of the SCS. Subsequent CFA (with ML estimation) confirmed both the six-

factor model and the hierarchical model of the 20-item Czech version of the Self-Compassion Scale

(SCS-CZ). The correlation between the total scores of the 20-item and 26-item Czech versions of the

SCS was r = .99 (p < .01).

Since the publication of Benda and Reichová's (2016) article, there was, however, an ongoing debate

about the factor structure of the SCS. Some authors (e.g. Brenner et al., 2017; Brenner et al., 2018;

Coroiu et al., 2018; Costa et al., 2016; López et al., 2015; Muris, Petrocchi, 2017; Muris, Otgaar,

Petrocchi, 2016; Pfattheicher et al., 2017) suggested a two-factor solution of the SCS. Neff argued

for the use of a global self-compassion factor and recommended the use of a bifactor ESEM models

in dimensionality studies of the SCS (e.g. Neff, 2016a,b; Neff, Tóth-Király, Colosimo, in print; Neff,

Whittaker, Karl, 2017; Tóth-Király, Bőthe, Orosz, 2017). According to Neff, Tóth-Király and

Colosimo (in print) the Exploratory Structural Equation Modeling provides a more realistic

representation of the self-compassion construct compared to CFA. Therefore, in this short article I

decided to test some additional ESEM models of the Czech version of the SCS using the sample 1

from Benda and Reichová's (2016) study.

Method

Participants

In their original article, Benda and Reichová (2016) included 5368 participants, of whom 1585 were

males (29.5%) and 3783 females (70.5%). The mean age was 33.79 years (SD = 11.58) and ranged

from 14 to 81 years. The participants were recruited through Facebook.

Measure

Self-compassion was measured with the 26-item Czech version of the Self-Compassion Scale (SCS-

26-CZ, Neff, 2003; Czech translation Benda, Reichová, 2016), which assesses six different

components of self-compassion: self-kindness (SK), self-judgment (SJ), common humanity (CH),

isolation (IS), mindfulness (MI) and over-identification (OI). Respondents rated each self-statement on

3

a five-point Likert-type scale (from 1 = almost never to 5 = almost always). Total self-compassion score is

calculated as a grand mean of all six subscales.

Statistical analyses

All analyses were performed with Mplus 7 (Muthén & Muthén, 1998-2012). Models were estimated

with the weighted least squares mean- and variance-adjusted (WLSMV) estimator. Inspired by the

studies of Neff, Tóth-Király and Colosimo (in print) and Coroiu et al. (2018) I decided to test six

ESEM models: 1) a one-factor model with a single self-compassion dimension; 2) a two-factor

correlated model with one factor representing compassionate self-responding (SK, CH & MI items)

and reduced uncompassionate self-responding (SJ, IS & OI items); 3) a six-factor correlated model

representing the six components of self-compassion – self-kindness, self-judgment, common

humanity, isolation, mindfulness and over-identification; 4) a bifactor model with a general self-

compassion factor and six specific factors that were orthogonal to each other; 5) a two-bifactor model

including two correlated general compassionate self-responding (CS) and reduced uncompassionate

self-responding (RUS) factors, each with three CS or RUS group factors which were orthogonal to

one another and the general factors as well; and 6) a full two-tier model with two uncorrelated general

compassionate self-responding (CS) and reduced uncompassionate self-responding (RUS) factors,

and six group factors, three corresponding to the CS factor (SK, CH, MI), and three corresponding to

the RUS factor (SJ, IS, OI). Cross-loadings were allowed (see Figure 1).

Figure 1

Full two-tier ESEM model (model 6)

Note. ESEM = exploratory structural equation modeling; Circles represent latent variables, squares

represent scale items. One-headed full arrows represent factor loadings, one-headed dashed arrows

represent cross-loadings.

4

In addition to the chi-square test, which is highly sensitive to sample size (Marsh, Hau, & Grayson,

2005), the following fit indices were used to indicate the global fit of the models to the data: the

Comparative Fit Index (CFI), the Tucker-Lewis Index (TLI), the Root Mean Square Error of

Approximation (RMSEA) with its 90% confidence interval and the weighted root-mean-square

residual (WRMR). An acceptable model fit was indicated by TLI and CFI ≥ .95, RMSEA ≤ .06 and

WRMR ≤ 1.0 (DiStefano et al., 2018; Hu, Bentler, 1999). For bifactor models, the following indices

were further computed: percentage of uncontaminated correlations (PUC), explained common

variance (ECV), omega (ω), omega hierarchical (ωh) and omega hierarchical subscale (ωhs). If PUC

was > .80, the recommended cut offs of ECV > .80 and ωh and ωhs > .80 were used to identify strong

general factors (Reise, 2012; Rodriguez, Reise, Haviland, 2016). However, if PUC was below .80,

cut offs of ECV. > 60 and ωh and ωhs > .70 were used (e.g., Reise, Scheines, Widaman, & Haviland,

2013).

Results

Table 1 Goodness-of-Fit Statistics for the Estimated Models for the SCS-26-CZ (N = 5368)

Model χ2 df CFI TLI RMSEA 90% CI WRMR

1. One-factor ESEM: One G-factor (SC)

29950*

299

.76

.74

.14

.14-.14

7.72

2. Two-factor ESEM: Two G-factors (CS,

RUS)

19819*

274

.84

.81

.12

.11-.12

5.41

3. Six-factor ESEM: Six S-factors (SK, SJ,

CH, IS, MI, OI)

2201*

184

.98

.97

.05

.05-.05

1.31

4. Bifactor ESEM: One G-factor (SC) Six S-

factors (SK, SJ, CH, IS, MI, OI)

1560*

164

.99

.98

.04

.04-.04

1.08

5. Two-bifactor ESEM: Two G-factors (CS,

RUS) Six S-factors (SK, SJ, CH, IS, MI, OI)

1115*

157

.99

.98

.03

.03-.04

.91

6. Full two-tier ESEM: Two G-factors (CS,

RUS), Six S-factors, three for CS factor (SK,

CH, MI), and three for RUS factor (SJ, IS,

OI), with cross-loadings allowed.

1080*

325

.99

.98

.04

.03-.04

.87

Note. χ2 = Chi-square test of exact fit; df = Degrees of freedom; CFI = Comparative fit index; TLI = Tucker-

Lewis index; RMSEA = Root mean square error of approximation; 90% CI = 90% confidence interval of the

RMSEA; WRMR = Weighted root-mean-square residual; PCFI = Parsimony-corrected CFI; SC = Self-

Compassion; CS = Compassionate Self-responding; RUS = Reduced Uncompassionate Self-responding; SK =

Self-Kindness; SJ = Self-Judgment (reduced); CH = Common Humanity; IS = Isolation (reduced); MI =

Mindfulness; OI = Over-Identification (reduced); G-factor = Global factor; S-factor = Specific factor; *p < .01.

Goodness-of-fit statistics for the SCS-26-CZ are reported in Table 1. As is shown, models 1 and 2

provided a poor fit to the data. Models 3, 4, 5 and 6 showed an acceptable fit. Closer inspection of

the parameter estimates, however, revealed multiple statistically significant cross-loadings in models

5

3, 4, 5 and 6 (see e.g. items 6, 21, 23, in Tables 3, 4, 5 and 6). The presence of such cross-loadings

suggest that these items might better reflect a global construct. In model 3 (Six-factor ESEM) the

factor loadings ranged from .12 to .89 and means were between .35 and .57 (see Table 3). Yet, model

3 can be considered as problematic due to the cross-loadings. In model 5 (two-bifactor ESEM) the

two general factors were weakly defined (CS: |λ| = .01 to .35, M = .16; RUS: |λ| = .17 to .45, M = .32,

see Table 5; ECV for the CS factor was .06 and for the RUS factor .32, see Table 2). In models 4 and

6, the general factor loadings were acceptable.

In model 4 (Bifactor ESEM) the factor loadings of the global self-compassion factor ranged from .24

to .76, M = .55 (see Table 4). The omega coefficient (ω) was .96 and omega-hierarchical (ωh) for the

global self-compassion factor was .73. The model 4 PUC was .87. The explained common variance

for the global factor (ECV) was .58, meaning that the global self-compassion factor explains 58% of

the common variance extracted with 42% of the common variance spread across specifics factors

(SK, SJ, CH, IS, MI and OI). Omega-h subscale (ωhs) was .04 for the self-kindness factor, .03 for the

self-judgment factor, .04 for the common humanity factor, .05 for the isolation factor, .05 for the

mindfulness factor and .03 for the over-identification factor (see Table 2).

Table 2 Statistical indices of models 4, 5 and 6 (N = 5368)

Model ω ωh ωhs PUC ECV

4. Bifactor ESEM .96 .73 .04 SK; .03 SJ; .04 CH; .05 IS; .05 MI; .03 OI .87 .58

5. Two-bifactor ESEM

CS

.91

.06

.55 SK; .18 CH; .13 MI

.72

.06

RUS

.84

.32

.20 SJ; .26 IS; .06 OI

.72

.32

6. Full two-tier ESEM

CS

.86

.73

.05 SK; .06 CH; .02 MI

.72

.59

RUS

.87

.79

.04 SJ; .02 IS; .01 OI

.72

.71

Note. ω = omega; ωh = omega hierarchical; ωhs = omega hierarchical subscale; PUC = percent of

uncontaminated correlations; ECV = explained common variance; CS = Compassionate Self-responding

factor; RUS = Reduced Uncompassionate Self-responding factor.

In model 6 (Full two-tier ESEM) the factor loadings of the compassionate self-responding (CS) factor

ranged from .29 to .71, M = .55 and the factor loadings of the reduced uncompassionate self-

responding (RUS) factor ranged from .17 to .69, M = .52 (see Table 6). The model 6 PUC was .72.

For the CS factor ω = .86, ωh = .73 and ECV = .59; ωhs = .05 for self-kindness, ωhs = .06 for common

humanity and ωhs = .02 for mindfulness CS group factors. For the RUS factor ω = .87, ωh = .79 and

ECV = .71; ωhs = .04 for self-judgment, ωhs = .02 for isolation, and ωhs = .01 for over-identification

RUS group factors. Concerning model-based reliability and dimensionality, model 6 showed superior

properties compared to model 4. The low omega hierarchical subscale (ωhs) in model 6 indicates that

6

reliability diminishes upon partialing out common variance shared with the general factors. The use

of six subscale scores of the SCS-26-CZ is thus not recommended.

Conclusion

In this study, the Full two-tier ESEM model of the 26-item Czech version of the Self-compassion

scale (SCS-26-CZ) showed an acceptable fit in a sample of 5368 participants (see Benda, Reichová,

2016) as well as an acceptable model-based reliability and dimensionality. The 26-item Czech version

of the Self-Compassion Scale (SCS-26-CZ) thus can be used as a measure of compassionate self-

responding and reduced uncompassionate self-responding.

A closing note

I hope this study will contribute to the debate about the factor structure of the Self-Compassion Scale.

I will appreciate any comments, criticism or discussion. Please add your comments to this article.

7

Table 3 Standardized Parameter Estimates for the Model

3: Six-factor ESEM solution of the SCS-26-CZ (N = 5368)

SK (λ) SJ (λ) CH (λ) IS (λ) MI (λ) OI (λ)

Self-kindness

sk5

.71

-.01

.12

-.03

.02

-.03

sk12

.73

.02

.05

-.08

.08

-.02

sk19

.89

-.01

.03

-.03

.03

-.06

sk23

.17

-.60

.14

.07

.25

.05

sk26

.34

-.34

.11

.06

.36

.06

Self-judgment

sj1

-.03

.65

-.05

.06

.10

.08

sj8

-.24

.51

.04

-.09

.23

.04

sj11

-.08

.56

-.02

.07

-.08

.12

sj16

-.06

.40

.01

.34

-.09

.11

sj21

-.49

.16

.00

.13

.19

-.06

Common humanity

ch3

-.01

.07

.34

-.17

.23

.02

ch7

-.05

.09

.89

.06

-.15

.01

ch10

-.02

.07

.88

.11

-.11

-.01

ch15

.16

-.13

.36

-.09

.39

.09

Isolation

is4

-.03

.16

-.12

.52

.05

.14

is13

-.07

-.03

-.00

.63

-.11

.14

is18

-.03

.09

.07

.61

-.16

.06

is25

-.07

.09

-.16

.50

.07

.20

Mindfulness

mi9

.07

.13

.02

.21

.42

-.50

mi14

.13

.13

.11

-.07

.54

-.18

mi17

.09

.05

.17

-.18

.53

-.03

mi22

.46

.03

.09

-.12

.31

.14

Over-identification

oi2

-.06

.15

-.10

.42

-.09

.26

oi6

-.03

.36

-.06

.39

-.05

.12

oi20

-.07

.06

.04

-.07

-.17

.64

oi24

.07

.06

-.02

.25

-.16

.38

mean .57 .46 .62 .57 .45 .35

Note. ESEM = exploratory structural equation modeling; SK = self-

kindness; SJ = self-judgment (reduced); CH = common humanity; IS

= isolation (reduced); MI = mindfulness; OI = over-identification

(reduced); Note that negative SCS items are reverse-coded; λ =

standardized factor loadings; Target factor loadings are in bold. Non-

signiﬁcant parameters (p ≥ .05) are italicized.

8

Table 4 Standardized Parameter Estimates for the Model 4: Bifactor

ESEM solution of the SCS-26-CZ (N = 5368)

SC (λ) SK (λ) SJ (λ) CH (λ) IS (λ) MI (λ) OI (λ)

Self-kindness

sk5

.62

.50

-.02

.12

-.05

-.02

-.02

sk12

.64

.50

-.04

.06

-.02

.02

-.04

sk19

.70

.65

.02

.06

-.04

.02

-.04

sk23

.74

-.01

.26

.01

-.21

-.02

-.11

sk26

.76

.09

.01

.03

-.25

.02

-.07

Self-judgment

sj1

.49

-.00

.56

-.06

.03

-.09

-.04

sj8

.30

.11

.29

-.09

-.11

-.30

.02

sj11

.64

-.11

.21

-.09

-.07

-.15

.07

sj16

.69

-.11

.14

-.12

.15

-.08

.04

sj21

.44

.28

-.06

-.02

-.02

-.39

.00

Common humanity

ch3

.40

-.00

-.06

.27

.10

.20

-.06

ch7

.24

.07

-.05

.76

-.02

-.01

-.00

ch10

.27

.08

-.05

.76

-.06

-.00

.01

ch15

.72

.05

-.01

.26

-.06

.20

-.13

Isolation

is4

.60

-.04

.08

.02

.36

-.06

.06

is13

.62

-.05

-.09

-.07

.41

.04

.09

is18

.64

-.10

-.02

-.14

.36

.02

.01

is25

.60

-.02

.02

.07

.35

-.06

.14

Mindfulness

mi9

.27

.01

-.10

.05

-.06

.48

.38

mi14

.54

.03

-.16

.08

.00

.43

.11

mi17

.63

-.02

-.12

.11

.04

.36

-.03

mi22

.64

.21

-.26

.06

-.12

.00

-.10

Over-identification

oi2

.63

.01

.15

.01

.34

.15

.13

oi6

.67

-.06

.22

-.05

.24

-.02

.02

oi20

.38

-.06

-.05

-.05

-.01

.21

.66

oi24

.43

-.10

.04

-.03

.24

.22

.27

mean .55 .35 .25 .51 .37 .32 .27

Note. ESEM = exploratory structural equation modeling; SC = global self-compassion

factor; SK = self-kindness; SJ = self-judgment (reduced); CH = common humanity;

IS = isolation (reduced); MI = mindfulness; OI = over-identification (reduced); Note

that negative SCS items are reverse-coded; λ = standardized factor loadings; Target

factor loadings are in bold. Non-signiﬁcant parameters (p ≥ .05) are italicized.

9

Table 5 Standardized Parameter Estimates for the Model 5: Two-bifactor ESEM

solution of the SCS-26-CZ (N = 5368)

CS (λ) RUS (λ) SK (λ) SJ (λ) CH (λ) IS (λ) MI (λ) OI (λ)

Self-kindness

sk5

-.20

.73

.04

.20

.11

.11

.12

sk12

-.23

.73

.04

.16

.18

.15

.08

sk19

-.35

.84

.07

.17

.14

.15

.11

sk23

.12

.56

.55

.12

.19

.11

.01

sk26

.12

.66

.31

.14

.18

.21

-.10

Self-judgment

sj1

.17

.30

.60

.02

.08

-.08

.32

sj8

.20

.35

.32

-.06

-.16

-.18

.11

sj11

.25

.39

.50

.03

.18

.12

-.09

sj16

.31

.36

.41

.02

.40

.15

-.05

sj21

.32

.61

-.02

.01

-.06

-.19

-.03

Common humanity

ch3

.13

.24

.02

.32

.25

.20

.13

ch7

.04

.17

-.04

.77

-.01

.03

-.01

ch10

.05

.21

-.02

.80

-.03

.07

-.03

ch15

.25

.57

.17

.34

.25

.23

.15

Isolation

is4

.40

.31

.20

.13

.40

.10

.15

is13

.40

.31

.07

.05

.50

.22

.13

is18

.35

.30

.18

-.01

.54

.18

.07

is25

.45

.33

.12

.17

.34

.15

.16

Mindfulness

mi9

.01

.09

.00

.08

.02

.67

.07

mi14

.21

.36

-.02

.13

.22

.52

.19

mi17

.21

.41

.07

.19

.35

.41

.13

mi22

.12

.67

-.03

.12

.21

.15

.06

Over-identification

oi2

.33

.32

.22

.12

.37

.28

.32

oi6

.31

.35

.38

.07

.39

.13

.16

oi20

.39

.14

.10

.00

-.08

.65

.02

oi24

.29

.11

.15

.05

.25

.41

.17

mean .16 .32 .70 .37 .56 .45 .44 .17

Note. ESEM = exploratory structural equation modeling; CS = Compassionate Self-responding

factor; RUS = Reduced Uncompassionate Self-responding factor; SK = self-kindness; SJ = self-

judgment (reduced); CH = common humanity; IS = isolation (reduced); MI = mindfulness; OI =

over-identification (reduced); Note that negative SCS items are reverse-coded; λ = standardized

factor loadings; Target factor loadings are in bold. Non-signiﬁcant parameters (p ≥ .05) are

italicized.

10

Table 6 Standardized Parameter Estimates for the Model 6: Full two-tier ESEM

solution of the SCS-26-CZ (N = 5368)

CS (λ) RUS (λ) SK (λ) SJ (λ) CH (λ) IS (λ) MI (λ) OI (λ)

Self-kindness

sk5

.62

.44

.15

.07

.08

-.03

.01

sk12

.63

.44

.08

.01

.06

-.03

-.00

sk19

.69

.61

.11

-.00

-.00

-.03

-.01

sk23

.58

-.04

.28

-.02

-.20

-.05

-.08

sk26

.71

.01

.15

-.05

-.09

-.08

.03

Self-judgment

sj1

.52

.06

.45

.01

-.19

.08

-.18

sj8

.20

.10

.54

-.05

-.02

-.11

-.00

sj11

.54

-.05

.23

-.05

-.13

-.14

.07

sj16

.69

.02

.01

-.06

-.06

-.15

.01

sj21

.17

.24

.36

-.02

.27

-.30

.08

Common humanity

ch3

.38

-.03

-.07

.23

.12

.16

-.05

ch7

.36

.03

-.03

.71

.01

-.03

.01

ch10

.41

.03

-.03

.71

-.02

-.03

.03

ch15

.70

-.04

.10

.18

.09

.15

-.08

Isolation

is4

.63

.09

.02

.10

.19

-.00

-.02

is13

.62

.06

-.09

-.01

.32

.06

.04

is18

.66

.03

-.09

-.08

.21

-.00

-.03

is25

.59

.09

.05

.14

.27

.03

.07

Mindfulness

mi9

.29

.00

-.23

.01

-.10

.39

.39

mi14

.54

-.05

-.10

.00

.14

.38

.15

mi17

.58

-.06

-.12

.04

.11

.26

.01

mi22

.68

.11

.04

-.04

.19

-.09

.03

Over-identification

oi2

.64

.11

.05

.07

.16

.24

.03

oi6

.67

.05

.12

.01

.04

.03

-.06

oi20

.36

.01

-.03

-.01

-.00

.25

.62

oi24

.48

-.02

-.07

.02

.10

.26

.20

mean .55 .52 .31 .32 .46 .25 .28 .23

Note. ESEM = exploratory structural equation modeling; CS = Compassionate Self-responding

factor; RUS = Reduced Uncompassionate Self-responding factor; SK = self-kindness; SJ = self-

judgment (reduced); CH = common humanity; IS = isolation (reduced); MI = mindfulness; OI =

over-identification (reduced); Note that negative SCS items are reverse-coded; λ = standardized

factor loadings; Target factor loadings are in bold. Non-signiﬁcant parameters (p ≥ .05) are

italicized.

11

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