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Thesis Format

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Master of Science




Kaufman, Erin A.


Researchers theorize that self-invalidation contributes to the pathogenesis and maintenance of psychopathology, whereas self-validation promotes psychological wellbeing. Yet, psychometrically sound assessment tools for these processes are lacking. The current investigation aimed to develop and validate a self-report measure of self-validation and invalidation via two studies with online samples (i.e.., the Self-Validation and Invalidation Scale [SVIS]). In Study 1 (N = 424), a bifactor solution yielded an acceptable fit to the data. The SVIS (30 items) evidenced excellent internal consistency, and support for convergent, concurrent, and incremental validity, yet mixed results for divergent validity in Study 1. Based on results from Study 2 (N = 499) the SVIS was refined to 16 items. A bifactor solution evidenced acceptable to good fit to the data, excellent test-retest reliability, good internal consistency, and support for convergent, concurrent, divergent, incremental, and discriminant validity. The SVIS-16 shows promise in tapping self-validation/invalidation.

Summary for Lay Audience

Researchers theorize that self-validation promotes resiliency and psychological wellbeing, whereas self-invalidation is a risk factor for psychological and behavioural problems. Self-validation involves reinforcing one’s own sense of self and self-worth by acknowledging the legitimate aspects of our experiences and behaviours. Conversely, self-invalidation involves undermining our own sense of self and self-worth. Here, a person unreasonably conveys to themselves that their experiences and behaviours are unimportant, inappropriate, or illegitimate. Despite its theorized importance, empirical studies investigating these concepts are lacking. One reason for limited research in this area is the lack of scientifically supported and accessible measurement tools for self-validation/invalidation. Thus, the current investigation aimed to develop a self-report measure of these processes. Two studies were conducted, and both provided support for the quality of this measure. Self-validation scores were associated with higher scores on theoretically relevant measures of adaptive processes (e.g., self-compassion and self-insight). Similarly, higher self-invalidation scores were strongly associated with more severe mental health symptoms (e.g., depressive symptoms, borderline personality features severity, and anxiety symptoms). Taken together, the measure shows promise for tapping into self-validation and invalidation, and may promote more research in this area. Future studies are needed to examine the clinical utility of this measure (e.g., treatment monitoring, assessing risk for certain psychological problems).

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