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We addressed construct validity and explored the relationship between self-compassion and compassion for others using the two main current operationalizations of compassion (Neff's and the Sussex-Oxford Compassion Scales, SOCSs). Relationships with psychological distress and wellbeing, and potential differences in the association between self-compassion and compassion for others by level of psychological distress and wellbeing were also explored. Participants (n = 811) completed the Spanish adaptations of the Self-Compassion Scale (SCS), the Compassion Scale (CS), the SOCSs (for the self/others), the Short Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-Being Scale (SWEMWBS), and the Depression Anxiety Stress Scales-21 (DASS-21). We fitted bifactor models to estimate the general factor of each construct for the different operationalizations, and calculated correlations between them. Relationships between self-compassion and compassion for others from the same operationalization were intermediate, while those between the same constructs from different operationalizations were large. Both constructs showed positive associations with wellbeing, while only self-compassion was associated with decreased psychological distress. Participants with good mental health showed higher associations between self-compassion and compassion for others than those with poorer mental health. Self-compassion and compassion for others appear to be dimensional constructs that can converge or diverge. When they converge, it is associated with better mental health.

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Journal article



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Compassion Scale, Self-Compassion Scale, Sussex-Oxford Compassion Scales, compassion for others, psychological distress, self-compassion, wellbeing