Communicating with compassion: the exploratory factor analysis and primary validation process of the Compassionate Communication Scale
The purpose of this dissertation was to develop a Compassionate Communication Scale (CCS) by conducting a series of studies. The first study used qualitative data to identify and develop initial scale items. A series of follow-up studies used exploratory factor analysis to investigate the underlying structure of the CCS. A three-factor structure emerged, which included: Compassionate conversation, such as listening, letting the distressed person disclose feelings, and making empathetic remarks; compassionate touch, such as holding someone's hand or patting someone's back; and compassionate messaging, such as posting an encouraging message on a social networking site or sending a sympathetic email. The next study tested convergent and divergent validity by determining how the three forms of compassionate communication associate with various traits. Compassionate conversation was positively related to compassion, empathetic concern, perspective taking, emotional intelligence, social expressivity, emotional expressivity and benevolence, and negatively related to verbal aggressiveness and narcissism. Compassionate touch was positively correlated with compassion, empathetic concern, perspective taking, emotional intelligence, social expressivity, emotional expressivity, and benevolence, and uncorrelated with verbal aggressiveness and benevolence. Finally, compassionate messaging was positively correlated with social expressivity, emotional expressivity, and uncorrelated with verbal aggressiveness and narcissism. The next study focused on cross-validation and criterion-related validity. Correlations showing that self-reports of a person's compassionate communication were positively related to a friend or romantic partner's report of that person's compassionate communication provided cross-validation. The test for criterion-related validity examined whether compassionate communication predicts relational satisfaction. Regression analyses revealed that people were more relationally satisfied when they perceived themselves to use compassionate conversation, when they perceived their partner to use compassionate conversation, and when their partner reported using compassionate conversation. This finding did not extend to compassionate touch or compassionate messaging. In fact, in one regression analysis, people reported more relational satisfaction when they perceived that their partners used high levels of compassionate conversation and low levels of compassionate touch. Overall, the analyses suggest that of the three forms of compassionate communication, compassionate conversation is most strongly related to relational satisfaction. Taken together, this series of studies provides initial evidence for the validity of the CCS.