Negative Self-referential Emotional Measures for use with Child and Youth samples and the Construction/Validation of ‘Self-criticism’ Emotional Measures for Child and Adolescent populations
|Qualification name||Doctor of Philosophy|
The crisis in child and adolescent mental health and well-being has prompted the development of school and community-based interventions to tackle negative emotions towards the self (e.g., shame, guilt & self-criticism). To enable this, however, the use of robust, appropriate instruments to measure negative self-referential emotions is a necessity. Thus, an overarching aim of this PhD was to explore currently available self‑report measures of negative self‑referential emotions developed for non‑clinical child and adolescent samples and, if necessary, construct/validate appropriate ‘self-referential’ measures for children and adolescents where none exist. To this end, a systematic review of currently available child and adolescent self‑referential emotion measures revealed no appropriately validated measures of self-criticism for use in such populations. This is despite the importance of self-criticism during the identity-forming phase of childhood and adolescence, and its damaging effects on mental health. Therefore, the further overarching aims of this PhD were to develop and validate measures of self-criticism for use with child and adolescent populations.
Using well-established scale development guidelines and validation procedures an interactive methodology, using both deductive and inductive methods, was utilised to develop the scale items. This included extensive literature searching, subject matter experts, and focus groups with the child and adolescent populations themselves. Exploratory factor analysis was then used to reduce the list of candidate items and to identify the underlying factor structure of the items. This resulted in two theoretically informed, qualitatively grounded and age sensitive measures, which capture the multifaceted nature of self-criticism according to child/adolescent development. These were a 15-item child scale - the Child Self-criticism scale (CSCs) for children aged seven-to-11 years characterised by two Factors (‘criticising self’ and ‘reassuring self’); and a 24-item adolescent scale - the Adolescent Self-criticism Scale (ACSs) for adolescents aged 11-to-16 years characterised by two Factors (‘critical self’ and ‘sensitivity to failure’). Both scales demonstrated high internal consistency, split-half reliability, test-retest reliability, and excellent concurrent validity through significant correlations between the scales, their subscales and validated measures of depression, perfectionism and self-compassion. Important implications of the scale developments included ‘negative evaluation by others' and ‘self-reassurance’ as key aspects of self-criticism in children, and 'inner critical voice', ‘self- critical rumination’, ‘physical appearance’ and ‘self-critical perfectionism’ as key aspects of self-criticism in adolescents.
The impacts of this PhD body of research are three-fold. Firstly, a comprehensive systematic review has been conducted that will help researchers and practitioners make informed decisions about which tool or tools to use when investigating negative self-referential emotions. Secondly, researchers/practitioners and others can now use the CSCs and ASCs, with confidence, to evaluate the growing number of emotional well-being interventions utilised with child/adolescent populations to target negative self-referential emotions. Thirdly, the two developed measures can be used to identify children and adolescents with high(er) levels of self-criticism who may benefit from targeted interventions across educational and community settings, in a bid towards relieving the child mental health crisis currently unfolding.
|Keywords||Child well-being; Mental health; Youth; Self-criticism; Scale development ; Scale validation; PRISMA|
|Publisher||College of Health, Psychology and Social Care (University of Derby)|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI)||https://doi.org/10.48773/9yz94|
|Publication process dates|
|Deposited||06 Jun 2023|
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