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The Use of Latent Profiles to Explore the Multi-dimensionality of Self-compassion



Self-compassion is a multi-dimensional construct; however, little is known about the multi-dimensionality because a composite self-compassion score is typically used. The purpose of this study was to explore profiles of the self-compassion dimensions using latent profile analysis.


Three healthy, independent samples completed assessments of self-compassion and psychological inflexibility (sample 1 N = 419), perceived stress (sample 2 N = 384), or perceived stress, anxiety, and depression (sample 3 N = 509).


Similar profile patterns emerged across three independent samples. Profile differences in composite self-compassion revealed different underlying dimensional patterns that resulted in similar composite self-compassion scores. In addition, some profiles with different composite scores had similar levels of psychological inflexibility or perceived stress.


Although there is general support for the use of a composite score representing the relative balance of self-compassion, limitations to representing self-compassion with a single score are highlighted. Key limitations are clarity of what a composite score captures, specific mechanisms underlying the construct, and targeted intervention implications.

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Authors and Affiliations



SUF: designed and executed the study, conducted the data analyses, and wrote the paper. AEC: collaborated with the conceptualization of the study and writing of the study. All authors approved the final version of the manuscript for submission.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Sarah Ullrich-French.

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This study has been reviewed and approved by the Washington State University Institutional Review Board and has been performed in accordance with the ethical standards laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments. All participants gave informed consent prior to inclusion in this study.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Ullrich-French, S., Cox, A.E. The Use of Latent Profiles to Explore the Multi-dimensionality of Self-compassion. Mindfulness 11, 1483–1499 (2020).

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