The Self-Compassion Questionnaire

The Self-Compassion


by Kristen Neff, Ph.D

The path to self-compassion often begins with an objective assessment of how self-compassionate or not we are. The Self-Compassion Scale measures the degree to which people show self-kindness or harsh self-judgment, have a sense of common humanity or feel isolated by their imperfection, and are mindful of or overidentify with their suffering. Most research uses this scale to measure self-compassion and determine its link to well-being. Take the test to find out how self-compassionate you are. 


This is an adapted version of the short form of the Self-Compassion Scale developed by Kristen Neff, Ph.D. If you would like to try the full Self-Compassion Scale and have your results calculated for you, go to:

The following statements describe how you act toward yourself in difficult times. Read each statement carefully before answering, and to the left of each item indicate how often you behave in the stated manner on a scale of 1 to 5. For the first set of items, use the following scale:

Almost never 1 2 3 4 5  Almost always

_____I try to be understanding and patient toward those aspects of my personality I don’t like.

_____When something painful happens, I try to take a balanced view of the situation.

_____I try to see my failings as part of the human condition.

_____When I’m going through a very hard time, I give myself the caring and tenderness I need.

_____When something upsets me, I try to keep my emotions in balance.

_____When I feel inadequate in some way, I try to remind myself that feelings of inadequacy are shared by most people.

For the next set of items, use the following scale (notice that the endpoints of the scale are reversed from those above):

Almost always 1 2 3 4 5  Almost never

_____When I fail at something important to me, I become consumed by feelings of inadequacy.

_____When I’m feeling down, I tend to feel like most other people are probably happier than I am.

_____When I fail at something that’s important to me, I tend to feel alone in my failure.

_____When I’m feeling down, I tend to obsess and fixate on everything that’s wrong.

_____I’m disapproving and judgmental about my own flaws and inadequacies.

_____I’m intolerant and impatient toward those aspects of my personality I don’t like.


 How to score your test: Total (sum of all 12 items) Mean score = Total/12


Average overall self-compassion scores tend to be around 3.0 on the 1–5 scale, so you can interpret your overall score accordingly. As a rough guide, a score of 1–2.5 for your overall self-compassion score indicates you are low in self-compassion, 2.5–3.5 indicates you are moderate, and 3.5–5.0 means you are high in self-compassion.


REFLECTION If you scored lower in self-compassion than you would like, don’t worry. The beautiful thing about self-compassion is that it is a skill that can be learned. You might just have to give yourself some time, but it will happen eventually.