Measuring the Immeasurables: Development and Initial Validation of the Self-Other Four Immeasurables (SOFI) Scale Based on Buddhist Teachings on Loving Kindness, Compassion, Joy, and Equanimity
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Multiple measures exist that examine the attentional aspects of meditation practice, but measurement of the compassion component is relatively understudied. This paper describes the development and initial validation of a scale designed to measure application of the four immeasurable qualities at the heart of Buddhist teachings: loving kindness, compassion, joy and acceptance toward both self and others. Our analyses suggest four distinct subscales: positive qualities toward self, positive qualities toward others, negative qualities toward self and negative qualities toward others. Initial examination of reliability and validity showed high internal consistency for the subscales as well as strong concurrent, discriminant, and construct validity. We believe the Self-Other Four Immeasurables (SOFI) scale has broad utility for research on mindfulness, positive psychology, and social psychology.