Self-criticism self-report measures: Systematic review

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Abstract

Purpose

Self-criticism is a transdiagnostic process that has been attracting research and clinical interest. The accurate measurement of this construct is therefore crucial; however, there are currently numerous measures of self-criticism and no guidelines about which to use in different contexts. This systematic review evaluated the measurement properties of self-report questionnaires of self-criticism.

Methods

OvidSP and Web of Science were used to search through multiple databases, and an initial grey literature search was completed. Studies were included when the main focus was to evaluate the measurement properties of English version of scales or subscales that aimed to measure self-criticism in an adult population. Both the methodological quality of included studies and the specific measurement properties were evaluated; these ratings were then combined into a best evidence synthesis.

Results

Five scales and five subscales were identified, described in 16 papers. The scales were designed to measure different types of self-criticism including trait or repetitive self-criticism and self-criticism in response to difficult situations or as a mood regulation strategy. The majority of included studies were either rated as having poor methodological quality, or were given indeterminate or negative ratings for the measurement properties they reported. Questionnaire content varied depending on how the authors conceptualized self-criticism. Issues were also highlighted in relation to the checklist used to rate methodological quality.

Conclusions

Tentative recommendations were made about two measures of self-criticism based on existing evidence; future research is required. Furthermore, questionnaire choice should be based on the type of self-criticism being assessed.

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