Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science




Saklofske, Donald H.


Most research on prosocial behaviour focuses on situational factors rather than individual differences. Empathy, compassion, and altruism are three constructs related to prosocial behaviour that also overlap theoretically. However, prosocial traits are rarely studied together, and measures of prosocial orientation are lacking. To address this gap, the Light Triad Scale (Light-3) was developed to assess individual differences in prosocial orientation. Three subscales with 12 items each, assessing empathy, compassion, and altruism, were created using existing measures of each construct. Items were selected according to theory and literature. The Light-3 was then administered to a sample of undergraduate psychology students at Western University (N = 451). To assess construct validity, participants also completed the Short Dark Triad (SD3; Jones & Paulhus, 2014), the Assessment of Sadistic Personality (ASP; Plouffe, Saklofske, & Smith, 2017), the Managing the Emotions of Others Scale – Very Short Form (MEOS-VSF; Austin, Saklofske, & Smith, Under Review), the Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire – Short Form (TEIQue-SF; Petrides & Furnham, 2004), the Honesty-Humility scale of the HEXACO Personality Inventory (Lee & Ashton, 2004), and the Big Five Inventory – 10 Item scale (BFI-10; Rammstedt & John, 2007). First, the undiminensionality of each subscale was confirmed using exploratory factor analysis, and items with poor loadings were deleted. The sample was originally split for exploratory and confirmatory purposes; however, because good model fit could not be obtained in the second half of the sample regardless of the model attempted, the full sample was used for further analyses. Using Exploratory Structural Equation Modelling and Jackson’s Differential Reliability Index, items were deleted that loaded onto other subscales, had substantial negative loadings on other subscales, or had loadings greater than one. A final confirmatory factor analysis was conducted using the reduced 24-item Light-3. After three modifications, model fit was acceptable. Ultimately, the hypothesized hierarchical model with a higher-order Prosocial Orientation factor and three lower-order factors (Empathy, Compassion, Altruism) was supported. Overall, as a preliminary measure of prosocial orientation, the Light-3 demonstrates adequate factor structure and good support for the construct. Future studies should further refine the scale by writing items that specifically target and confirm the factor structure identified in the current study.