Self-compassion emphasizes accepting oneself, reducing self-criticism and self-judgment, and seeing one’s flaws and defeats in a balanced light. Self-compassion in adolescence is an important protective factor against mental illness. Gender, on the other hand, has an impact. Given the shortage of self-compassion measures for teenagers, researchers for a study examined the Self-Compassion Scale for Youth (SCS-Y) in a large cross-cultural sample. They analyzed how the SCS-Y subscales connected to depressive symptoms dimensions across gender.

A total of 2,881 teens aged 12 to 18 years were recruited from Hong Kong (HK), China, and the United Kingdom using the internet-based Qualtrics. A Multiple Indicator Multiple Cause (MIMIC) model was used to assess the SCS-measurement Y’s invariance, and differential item functioning (DIF) was examined across gender. Following the selection of the best model, a multigroup structural equation model (SEM) was constructed using SCS-Y variables and the Multidimensional Depression Assessment Scale (MDAS), which measures four aspects of depressed symptoms (emotional, cognitive, somatic, and interpersonal).

The SCS-Y has been proved to be reliable and genuine. The MIMIC model suited a hypothetical six-factor model well (CFI = 0.980; TLI = 0.974; RMSEA = 0.038), and no items were marked for DIF across gender. There was a gender difference between SCS-Y variables and depression characteristics.

The SCS-Y has strong psychometric properties, such as measurement invariance across gender. The study also emphasized the gender differences in self-compassion and depressive aspects.