The Watts Connectedness Scale: a new scale for measuring a sense of connectedness to self, others, and world.
Watts R., Kettner H., Geerts D., Gandy S., Kartner L., Mertens L., Timmermann C., Nour MM., Kaelen M., Nutt D., Carhart-Harris R., Roseman L.
RATIONALE: A general feeling of disconnection has been associated with mental and emotional suffering. Improvements to a sense of connectedness to self, others and the wider world have been reported by participants in clinical trials of psychedelic therapy. Such accounts have led us to a definition of the psychological construct of 'connectedness' as 'a state of feeling connected to self, others and the wider world'. Existing tools for measuring connectedness have focused on particular aspects of connectedness, such as 'social connectedness' or 'nature connectedness', which we hypothesise to be different expressions of a common factor of connectedness. Here, we sought to develop a new scale to measure connectedness as a construct with these multiple domains. We hypothesised that (1) our scale would measure three separable subscale factors pertaining to a felt connection to 'self', 'others' and 'world' and (2) improvements in total and subscale WCS scores would correlate with improved mental health outcomes post psychedelic use. OBJECTIVES: To validate and test the 'Watts Connectedness Scale' (WCS). METHODS: Psychometric validation of the WCS was carried out using data from three independent studies. Firstly, we pooled data from two prospective observational online survey studies. The WCS was completed before and after a planned psychedelic experience. The total sample of completers from the online surveys was N = 1226. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis were performed, and construct and criterion validity were tested. A third dataset was derived from a double-blind randomised controlled trial (RCT) comparing psilocybin-assisted therapy (n = 27) with 6 weeks of daily escitalopram (n = 25) for major depressive disorder (MDD), where the WCS was completed at baseline and at a 6-week primary endpoint. RESULTS: As hypothesised, factor analysis of all WCS items revealed three main factors with good internal consistency. WCS showed good construct validity. Significant post-psychedelic increases were observed for total connectedness scores (η2 = 0.339, p