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Psychometric analyses of the Lynn and Accardi Sensitivity Scale: Test construction and initial validation

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 PSYCHOMETRIC ANALYSES OF
THE LYNN AND ACCARDI SENSITIVITY SCALE:
TEST CONSTRUCTION AND INITIAL VALIDATION
BY
MICHELLE C. ACCARDI
BA, University of Hartford, 2008
THESIS
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for
the degree of Master of Science in Psychology
in the Graduate School of
Binghamton University
State University of New York
2010
UMI Number: 1484287
All rights reserved
INFORMATION TO ALL USERS
The quality of this reproduction is dependent upon the quality of the copy submitted.
In the unlikely event that the author did not send a complete manuscript
and there are missing pages, these will be noted. Also, if material had to be removed,
a note will indicate the deletion.
UMI 1484287
Copyright 2011 by ProQuest LLC.
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© Copyright by Michelle C. Accardi 2010
All Rights Reserved
Accepted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for
the degree of Master of Science in Psychology
in the Graduate School of
Binghamton University
State University of New York
2010
April 26, 2010
Dr. Steven J. Lynn, Chair and Faculty Advisor
Department of Psychology, Binghamton University
Dr. Mark F. Lenzenweger, Member
Department of Psychology, Binghamton University
Dr. Celia Klin, Member
Department of Psychology, Binghamton University
Dr. Thomas Harding, Member
Department of Psychology, Binghamton University
iii
Abstract
The current project represents the initial phase in a research program designed to
elaborate
the
psychological
construct
of
sensitivity
by
identifying
multidimensional facets of sensitivity and evaluating their relation to
manifestations of psychopathology. The present research, and forthcoming
extensions, seek to establish the psychometric properties of a new self-report
measure, the Lynn and Accardi Sensitivity Scale (LASS).
We tested 125
undergraduate student volunteers and performed a principal components analysis
on a 55-item, rationally derived scale. This analysis yielded a shorter 17-item
scale with a three factor solution, which accounted for 57.55 percent of the
cumulative variance.
The three factors were labeled: (a) Negative Self-
Evaluation, (b) Emotional Sensitivity, and (c) Social Sensitivity. Additional data
collected to date will be used to confirm the structure of the LASS, establish testretest reliability, and evaluate convergent and discriminant validity using wellestablished measures of personality and psychopathology.
iv
Acknowledgements
I would like to thank my mentor, Steven J. Lynn, for his support and dedication. I
would also like to thank my peers, Amanda Deming and Sean O’Hagen, for their
guidance and humor.
Finally, I would like to thank my family for their
unwavering support and optimism.
v
Table of Contents
Page
Introduction ……………………………………………………...………... 1
Aspects of Sensitivity ...................................................................... 2
Content Validity .............................................................................. 9
Construct Validity ............................................................................ 10
Methods …………………………………………………………………… 12
Participants ....................................................................................... 12
Development of Item Pool ............................................................... 12
Procedure ......................................................................................... 13
Results …………………………………………………………………….. 14
Data Collected to Date and Future Directions ……………………………. 17
Discussion ………………………………………………………………… 20
References ………………………………………………………………… 25
Appendices ……………………………………………………………….. 32
A. The Lynn and Accardi Sensitivity Scale (55 items) ................... 32
B. The Lynn and Accardi Sensitivity Scale (17 items) ................... 34
C. The Lynn and Accardi Sensitivity Scale (40 items) ................... 34
D. Anxiety Sensitivity Index ........................................................... 36
E. Affective Sensitivity .................................................................... 36
F. Rejection Sensitivity Questionnaire ............................................ 37
G. Emotional Intensity Scale ........................................................... 38
H. Adult Temperament Questionnaire ............................................. 41
vi
Page
I. Highly Sensitive Person Scale .................................................... 43
J. Interpersonal Scale (I-S) from the SCL-90-R ............................ 44
K. Construct Validation of the LASS ............................................. 44
Tables …………………………………………………………………….. 45
1. Items loaded onto 3-Factor Solution using PCA ......................... 45
2. Descriptive Statistics of the 3-Factor LASS ................................ 45
3. Bivariate Correlations of the 3-Factor LASS .............................. 46
4. Partial Correlation of Scales 1 and 2 ........................................... 46
5. Partial Correlation of Scales 1 and 3 ........................................... 47
6. Partial Correlation of Scales 2 and 3 ........................................... 47
Figures ……………………………………………………………………. 48
1. Flowchart of Recruitment ............................................................ 48
2. Scree Plot ..................................................................................... 49
vii
Introduction
Conceptually, the psychological construct of sensitivity has variable
meaning and application. In the broadest sense, psychological sensitivity refers to
a relatively low threshold for a particular: (a) perception/sensation, (b) experience
such as a thought or emotion, or (c) behavior in response to the promptings of
internal or external stimuli. Researchers and clinicians have examined sensitivity
across a variety of domains, including sensory qualities (e.g., pain, loud noises,
coarse fabrics; Aron & Aron, 1997), emotional state (embarrassment, exuberance,
sorrow; Bachorowski & Braaten, 1994), and anxiety (e.g., fears of going crazy,
dying, or being negatively evaluated; Taylor et al., 2007). Although the construct
is used widely, a well accepted operational definition of sensitivity is difficult to
pin down.
To date, research has been highly selective and has targeted certain aspects
of sensitivity, while ignoring others.
Accordingly, sensitivity has been
conceptualized in relatively narrow terms, and the construct has not, as yet, been
fully or satisfactorily operationalized with well-validated measures. The current
project is designed to work toward a broader specification and understanding of
sensitivity by analyzing multiple facets of sensitivity. Accordingly, the major
goal of the current research is to clarify domains of sensitivity in order to establish
a multifaceted operational description of “sensitivity” suitable for practical and
diagnostic use. This proposal will begin with a description of different aspects of
sensitivity that have been examined in the psychological literature, then discuss
the possible relation between different types of sensitivity and manifestations of
1
psychopathology, and finally present completed and in-progress empirical work
focused on constructing a multidimensional measure of sensitivity.
Aspects of Sensitivity
In a recent article, Taylor and his colleagues (Taylor, Zvolensky, Cox, et
al., 2007) describe anxiety sensitivity as a fear of arousal-related sensations that
are believed to result in death, insanity, or social rejection. The authors contend
that anxiety sensitivity contributes to the general level of fearfulness an individual
experiences. In individuals with high levels of anxiety sensitivity, anxiety
provoking events exacerbate alarm associated with physiological arousal, which
further intensifies anxiety.
Researchers have used the Anxiety Sensitivity Index (Peterson & Reiss,
1992) to assess anxiety sensitivity and predict future anxiety.
The scale’s
successor, the ASI-3 (Taylor et al., 2007), is a psychometrically sound self-report
inventory that measures physical, social, and cognitive sensitivities, which
predispose an individual to the development of an anxiety disorder. Physical
sensitivity refers to fears of serious illness or death associated with somatic
sensations, such as rapid heart beat or choking. Cognitive sensitivity refers to
fears of being crazy or mentally deficient when the individual experiences racing
or slowed thoughts, or trouble concentrating. Social sensitivity refers to fears of
negative evaluation due to physical reactions to anxiety. Notably, these three
factors overlap with diagnostic criteria from several psychiatric disorders outlined
below.
2
In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IVTR; APA, 2000), the criteria for social phobia include “concerns” about judgment
from others or embarrassment in certain situations, as well as the fear of being
perceived by others as weak, anxious, or pathological.
The concern that
individuals with social phobia endorse can be conceptualized in terms of hypersensitivity or vigilance with respect to evaluative feedback (a form of social
sensitivity measured by the ASI-3). Individuals with panic disorder may exhibit
heightened and negatively biased sensitivities to physical sensations that arise in
the face of embarrassing or inescapable situations (a form of physical sensitivity).
Individuals with specific phobia display excessive or unreasonable fear in the
presence or in anticipation of an encounter with particular objects or situations.
Elevated sensitivity is implied in the anticipation of an interaction with the
stimulus, and also in the fears about somatic symptoms, such as increased heart
rate or fainting (implicating both cognitive and physical sensitivities).
Posttraumatic and Acute Stress Disorders are characterized by hyper vigilance to
internal and external cues (potentially physical, cognitive, and social sensitivity).
Finally, certain personality disorders may overlap with the factors measured by
the ASI-3 (Taylor, 2007). Of note, hypervigilance is a criterion for diagnosing
avoidant personality disorder, in the context of potential negative evaluation,
which may be manifested behaviorally as blushing or crying (e.g., social
sensitivity).
Affective sensitivity—an aspect of empathetic resonation (Harman,
1986)—is another construct that falls under the broad rubric of “sensitivity.” The
3
Affective Sensitivity Scale Form E-80 (Campbell, 1968; revised by Kagan &
Schneider, 1980) consists of 57 items that measure the empathetic accuracy of
individuals who witness the emotional experiences of filmed persons.
The
revised form accurately identifies individuals with a low capacity for empathy and
detects changes in empathetic accuracy over the course of training individals in
affective sensitivity (Kagan & Schneider, 1980).
Measuring and enhancing
affective sensitivity could be useful in ameliorating symptoms of
personality disorders.
certain
For example, individuals with antisocial personality
disorder often lack common social skills and attunement to others (e.g., empathy,
remorse), and instead appear indifferent and contemptuous of the feelings, rights,
and sufferings of others.
Individuals with narcissistic personality disorder
similarly lack empathy and interpersonal sensitivity, which often results in their
exploitation of others. One could further argue that individuals with obsessive
compulsive personality disorder may be deficient in affective sensitivity, which
may result in dysfunctional relationships.
A third construct that maps onto the broad, multifaceted construct of
sensitivity is rejection sensitivity, a predisposition to anxiously expect social
rejection from significant people. Interestingly, rejection sensitive individuals
may readily perceive and even further the process of being rejected (Downey &
Feldman, 1996). Rejection sensitivity can be based on real or imagined rejection,
and harsh interpersonal rejection can lead to overreactions (e.g., jealousy,
hostility) and inappropriate social responses (e.g., controlling behavior,
diminished support). In contrast, individuals low in rejection-sensitivity do not
4
overreact, and may even underreact, when rejected interpersonally. In one study,
Downey and Feldman analyzed the psychometric properties of the Rejection
Sensitivity Questionnaire (RSQ), which measures the anxious-expectations that
rejection-sensitive people harbor about their significant others (1996). Anxiousexpectations contribute to hypervigilance for signs of rejection, and when
insignificant or ambiguous rejection cues are perceived, the individual is likely to
overreact emotionally and behaviorally.
In a previous study, Downey and
Feldman (1996) found a significant correlation between social anxiety and
rejection sensitivity. It is not farfetched to hypothesize that rejection sensitivity is
associated with paranoid, avoidant, dependent, borderline, and histrionic
personality disorders, which may involve sensitivity to negative evaluation,
abandonment, perceived attacks on character or reputation, and excessive
emotionality.
Individuals appear to differ in their sensitivity to emotions. Accordingly,
another important construct germane to this discussion is emotional intensity, the
intensity of positive and negative emotional states, regardless of how frequent
such emotional states are experienced. Bachorowski and Braaten (1994) report
that individuals who experience strong positive emotions are also likely to
experience strong negative emotions.
Although some scales of emotional
intensity had already been established, these researchers sought to develop a scale
of emotional intensity unconfounded by emotional frequency. The result was the
30 item Emotional Intensity Scale (EIS), with subscales measuring positive
emotions distinct from negative emotions. Various indicators, including test-
5
restest reliability, support the internal reliability and temporal stability of the EIS
(Bachorowski & Braaten, 1994). Note that emotional intensity is similar, but not
identical, to what is referred to later as emotional senstivity.
Yet another aspect of sensitivity refers to sensory processing.
More
specifically, Aron and Aron (1997) sought to distinguish and clarify the role of
sensitivity through their development of a unidimensional scale of sensoryprocessing sensitivity, which measures sensitivity to internal (e.g., pain) and
external (e.g., light) sensory information. Items on the 27-item scale inquire
about an individual’s startle response, reactions to life changes, awareness of
subtleties in the environment, avoidance or reaction to intense or violent stimuli,
and so forth. In several studies, the researchers attempted to validate the scale by
identifying highly sensitive individuals (Highly Sensitive Person Scale; HSPS).
However, later research suggested that the scale was actually multidimensional,
with research variously describing two (Evans & Rothbart, 2008) and three factor
solutions (Smolewska, McCabe, & Woody, 2006). In 2006, Smolewska and
colleagues found support for a three factor solution that they felt characterized
Aesthetic Sensitivity, Low Sensory Threshold, and Ease of Excitation. Evans and
Rothbart (2008) examined the results and concluded that the three factors more
accurately reflect negative affect, orienting sensitivity, and distress to
overstimulation. However, in their own factor analysis of the HSPS (2008), they
found only two factors, Negative Affect and Orienting Sensitivity.
Further, Evans and Rothbart (2008) distinguished sensory discomfort and
sensory sensitivity, which were not differentiated by the HSPS (Aron & Aron,
6
1997).
Sensory sensitivity reflects an individual’s awareness of subtle, low
intensity stimulation from multiple sources, a component of orienting sensitivity.
In contrast, sensory discomfort reflects negative affect from sensory qualities of
stimulation (e.g., bothered by colorful or flashing lights, or loud music), a
component of negative affect.
Evans and Rothbart developed the Adult
Temperament Questionnaire (ATQ; 2007), which supported the hypothesis that
sensory discomfort and sensory sensitivity were independent constructs.
A final construct discussed in the literature is interpersonal sensitivity, or
I-S. Individuals with high scores on I-S often feel inadequate and inferior, and
report
heightened
self-consciousness
and
negative
expectations
during
interpersonal interactions (SCL-90-R, Derogatis, 1975). Nine items on the SCL90-R comprise the interpersonal sensitivity dimension.
Although other
researchers have developed scales of interpersonal sensitivity (Boyce & Parker,
1989), the scale developed by Derogatis has been the most extensively studied
and is used primarily for diagnostic purposes.
The current conceptualizations of sensitivity are highly targeted and not
necessarily informative for research, practice, or diagnosis. It is likely that each
way of conceptualizing sensitivity contributes a proportion of the variability seen
in individuals who are considered sensitive in some way. For example, whereas
sensory sensitivity in response to internal and external stimuli seems to relate
intuitively to individuals who are “ultra-sensitive,” such sensitivity may be
integrally entwined with other aspects of sensitivity discussed above. We suspect
that such narrow definitions cannot adequately account for the array of potential
7
sensitivities reflected in a broad, multidimensional conceptualization of
sensitivity.
Ideally, the outcome of sensitivity research, with sensitivity
conceptualized as a personality variable, would be a single scale that measures
multiple sensitivities.
Such a scale would be potentially useful in refining
diagnostic criteria in standardized psychiatric manuals. Sensitivity-related criteria
(e.g., criteria for certain anxiety, mood, eating, and personality disorders listed
above) could include specifiers for evidence of elevations (or deficits) as indexed
by different types of sensitivity, similar to a profile generated by the Minnesota
Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI-2, Graham, 1989).
In an extensive study of sensitive individuals, the present research and
forthcoming extensions seek to establish the psychometric properties of a novel
scale designed to tease apart negative self-perceptions, emotional sensitivity, and
social sensitivity. The Lynn and Accardi Sensitivity Scale (LASS) described
herein includes items predominantly related to these dimensions, with some items
related to sensory sensitivity and discomfort (Aron & Aron, 1997; Evans &
Rothbart, 2008).
The LASS explores an individual’s awareness and
conceptualization of the self as a sensitive person, on a continuum ranging from
low to high.
It is important to note that sensitivities may be adaptive or maladaptive,
depending on the individual, the situation, and the culture in which the individual
resides. Sensitivity, as measured by the LASS, is scored using a Likert-scale to
evaluate the variability in the sample of college students tested. The domain of
sensitivity is presumed to fall on a continuum ranging from hypo- to
8
hypersensitivity, with an informal estimate that only 5-10% of subjects will
qualify as “ultrasensitive” people, with relatively high scores on all scales.
Individuals who score at the extreme ends of the scale may in fact function well
occupationally, socially, or academically, although this contention needs to be
tested empirically. The present study will investigate the psychometric properties
of an early version of the LASS. Future research will be directed at confirming
the factor structure of the LASS and validating the measure on diverse samples.
Content Validity
Multivariate statistics, such as a principal components analysis (PCA),
will be used to determine the dimensions of the LASS, and reveal potentially
diverse facets of the underlying construct, sensitivity. PCA will also specify the
items that constitute each facet, how strongly the items define their relevant
content domains, and how strongly identified domains relate to one another. In
sum, the PCA can point to ways to improve content validity, such as by adding
new items to make the content coverage more comprehensive. The PCA will thus
represent an initial step in determining whether the scale captures essential
components of sensitivity. In the future, Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA)
will be utilized to test alternative hypotheses about the domains underlying the
LASS. Future development of the LASS will include evaluating the goodness-offit of competing alternative models in a systematic manner to identify which
model best fits the data (alternative models of the LASS may include models in
which facets are uni- or multidimensional and may be correlated or uncorrelated,
9
or in which multi-dimensional facets are influenced by a single, higher order
factor).
Construct Validity
Another important method of assessing validity is to establish construct
validity. Insofar as the LASS measures multiple aspects or facets of sensitivity,
future development will include evaluating the degree to which multiple measures
of sensitivity converge (e.g., anxiety, affective, sensory, rejection, and other
interpersonal measures; see appendix K). Convergent and discriminant validity
will be assessed (by studies in which the data are already collected but not
reported herein) via first order correlations with measures presumed to be related
and unrelated to sensitivity, respectively, and CFA (confirmatory factor analysis)
will be employed as a powerful method of assessing convergent and divergent
validity in a more systematic manner than the PCA described in this report. The
conceptual definitions of the scales previously identified will hopefully lead in the
direction of a more comprehensive operational definition of sensitivity.
In subsequent studies, we may choose to administer the LASS to groups
known to differ on well-accepted criterion measures of conditions included in the
DSM-IV-TR (e.g., social phobia, bulimia, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress
disorder). The LASS may be normed on each group, and the data may then be
reexamined to determine the classification accuracy in terms of discriminating
between selected groups. Finally, we will evaluate the incremental validity of the
LASS to address the question of whether the LASS provides explanatory power
over and above other measures in predicting sensitivity.
In conclusion, the
10
research reported herein, along with analyses of data already collected and
projects planned for the future, will better define the construct of psychological
sensitivity and pave the way for a new area of study that will enrich our
understanding of “sensitivity.”
11
Method
Participants
The norming sample included undergraduate students from the State
University of New York at Binghamton who participated in the experiments for
course credit through: a research experiment (ongoing assessment of participants
from the Psychology Department subject pool), an undergraduate course in
psychology, or Mass Testing (a method of acquiring large numbers of subjects at
once from the Psychology Department subject pool). The original 55 item LASS
scale was administered during spring 2009 in an advanced course in psychology
(n=125) with permission from the subject pool coordinator to conduct the
research based on class recruitment.
Study 1: Test Construction and Initial Psychometric Properties
Development of Item Pool
The Lynn and Accardi Sensitivity Scale (LASS) has been constructed in
several stages between 2008 and 2010, guided by the principles of Classical Test
Theory (CTT). Items were written or selected on a rational basis. Reliability
coefficients were gathered and item analyses were performed to determine itemscale relationships and to maximize overall reliability, consistent with CTT. In
Study 3, test-retest reliability will be determined.
The LASS began with a therapist’s (SJL) case conceptualization of a
client who described herself as ultra sensitive and as having “one less skin” than
most others. The development of this scale was intended to identify individuals
who, like this client, describe themselves as “highly sensitive” to the feelings of
12
others or to interpersonal feedback and criticism, and who exhibit extreme selfconsciousness or are emotionally reactive in a variety of situations.
These
individuals may aptly be referred to as “ultrasensitive”, “thin skinned”, and tend
to monitor their own and others’ behavior closely. Individuals scoring high on the
LASS may conceivably suffer from maladaptive sensitivity and increased rates of
psychopathology.
The initial item pool was generated in the spring of 2009 by Steve Lynn
based on previous clinical experience, and a reading of the literature describing
ultra-sensitive people. The original scale contained 55 items potentially related to
the construct of sensitivity. No a-priori hypotheses were generated about the
specific number of latent traits, if any, which are measured by the LASS.
Procedure
For the original 55 item LASS, undergraduate students in an advanced
course in psychotherapy were invited to participate in a brief self-report
questionnaire in exchange for course credit (spring 2009). Informed consent was
obtained in writing prior to completing the questionnaire. Data were collected
from 125 participants (83 female, 42 male).
13
Results
A principal components analysis (PCA) was conducted on the original 55item LASS primarily for the purposes of data reduction.
The practice of
interpreting PCA over common factor analysis is supported, according to Floyd
and Widaman (1995), given certain conditions. For example, there will be few
differences between the two procedures with greater number of variables and high
communalities. Similarly, the difference in the two procedures will be minimal if
the number of indicators per factor and communalities are high. In isolation,
mathematical or psychometric indices used to decide the appropriate number of
factors may over or under-estimate the number of dimensions to retain; however,
if used in combination with statistical tests and rules of thumb (scree test, factor
loadings) the likelihood of divergence between PCA and common factor analysis
will be reduced.
Rotated factor solutions are more interpretable when each
variable loads highly onto as few factors as possible, and when all factor loadings
are positive. Factor loadings that exceed .30 are generally considered meaningful,
and appropriate factor solutions should explain at least 50% of the total variance
(or at least 80% of the cumulative variance). These considerations were useful in
supporting the rationale for performing a PCA.
Principal components analyses were run using both orthogonal and
oblique rotation to test the independence of the factors. First, PCA was conducted
on the 55 items using an oblique rotation (direct oblimin), which revealed that the
correlations between items in the Component Correlation Matrix were
14
consistently low (r < -.17) and often negative, and this finding remained even
after removing ten unreliable items. According to Field (2009),
“If the constructs were independent we would expect oblique
rotation to provide an identical solution to an orthogonal rotation
and the component correlation matrix would be an identity matrix
(e.g., all factors have correlation coefficients of 0).”
In his example, a correlation coefficient of -.15 was weak enough to assume the
factors were independent. Thus, an orthogonal rotation was employed because
the variables were independent and the varimax rotation, in particular, is
considered “a good general approach that simplifies the interpretation of factors”
(Field, 2009). The Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin measure verified the sampling adequacy
for the analysis, KMO= .64 (‘mediocre’ according to Field, 2009), but only 45 of
the 55 KMO values for individual items were > .50 (acceptable limit = .5, Field,
2009). A reliability analysis of the 55 items confirmed the same 10 items as
problematic (contributing to decreases in reliability and poor internal
consistency), so they were removed. Analyses of the initial 6-factor solution
justified retaining a 2, 3, or 4 factor solution. However, the two factor solution
indicated that over 50% of residuals had absolute values greater than .05, which is
grounds for concern (see Field, 2009, p.664), and a reliability analysis of the four
factor solution indicated that the fourth factor falls apart (1 out of 3 items
demonstrated poor internal consistency and contributed to decreased reliability of
the scale). Therefore, another 28 items were dropped and a 3-factor solution was
investigated. The final 17 item scale showed high reliability, α = .88. The KMO
15
= .84 (‘great’ according to Field, 2009), and all KMO values for individual items
were .74 or greater. Bartlette’s test of sphericity, x2 (136) = 891.257, p < .0001,
indicated that correlations between items were sufficiently large for PCA.
The steps undertaken to carry out the PCA included extracting factors
from the remaining 17-item scale, deciding how many factors to retain, and then
rotating the factors to allow for appropriate interpretation. Three components had
eigenvalues over Kaiser’s criterion of 1 and explained 57.55% of the cumulative
variance.
The scree plot showed inflections that would justify retaining 3
components (Figure 2). Table 1 shows the factor loadings after rotation. The
items that cluster on the same components suggest that component 1 represents
Negative Self-Evaluation (α = .85), component 2 represents Emotional Sensitivity
(α = .81), and component 3 represents Social Sensitivity (α = .80). Means and
standard deviations of the factors are reported in Table 2.
Further analyses were conducted to measure the bivariate and partial
correlations between factors 1, 2, and 3. Pearson correlations between factors
ranged from .32 to .47 (all p’s < .01).
All three partial correlations showed
diminished variability when controlling for a third variable, although only one
correlation became non-significant.
The correlation between Negative Self-
Evaluation and Social Sensitivity (r = .32, p < .01) diminished by 8.1% and was
no longer significant (r = .15, p > .05) when controlling for Emotional Sensitivity.
Descriptive statistics appear in table 2; Bivariate and partial correlations appear in
tables 3-6. Current analyses were not broken down by gender.
16
Data Collected to Date and Future Directions
At the present time, we have tested 936 students in a series of
experiments: 479 from Mass Testing in either Fall 2009 or Spring 2010; 217 from
an advanced psychology course between Spring and Fall 2009; and 240 from a
research experiment in the Fall of 2009. The samples have been used to norm the
LASS in several stages.
Three versions of the Lynn and Accardi Sensitivity Scale have been used
in the course of this project. As described above, the original 55 item LASS was
administered during the Spring 2009 in an advanced course in psychology with
participation from 125 students (see results above). Using reduction techniques
from the PCA, a revised 17 item LASS was administered during the Fall of 2009
as part of a research experiment (n = 209) and Mass Testing (n = 291). Finally,
the 40 item LASS, which includes the 17 item LASS with additional items added
to enhance reliability and add positively toned items to the question pool, was
administered during the Fall of 2009 to students participating in a research
experiment (n = 31) and an advanced course in psychology (n = 92), and again in
Spring 2010 to students participating in Mass Testing (n = 188). Additional
demographic information was collected in studies 2 and 3.
Study 2.
The primary purpose of PCA was to identify and explain
underlying dimensions of a domain of personality (in this case, dimensions of
sensitivity) without any firm a priori expectations regarding latent variables,
which in turn allowed for the elimination of items that were not useful to the
scale.
17
The 17 item LASS was included in the packet of self-report measures
distributed during Mass Testing in the Fall of 2009.
Informed consent was
presented verbally and obtained in writing prior to completing any measures of
self-report. Data were collected from 291 participants who received course credit.
The same 17 item LASS was also included in a packet of self-report measures
administered during a research experiment in the fall of 2009. Informed consent
was obtained in writing prior to the completion of any measures. Data were
collected for 209 participants who received course credit. Three confirmatory
factor analyses will be run using each data set individually and merged as one
composite sample. Because the participants were self-assigned in both studies,
the comparison between each individual data set with the composite data set will
be a robust analysis of the findings.
Study 3.
Twenty –three new items were added that were expected to
correlate with items on the existing subscales. The resulting 40-item scale was
administered and will also be analyzed using confirmatory techniques.
After the revisions, the enhanced 40 item LASS was administered in place
of the 17 item LASS in the same research experiment previously described.
Again, informed consent was obtained in writing prior to administering any
measures. Data were collected from 31 participants who received course credit.
The enhanced 40 item LASS was also administered to 92 participants from an
undergraduate course in psychotherapy in the Fall of 2009. Informed consent was
obtained in writing prior to completing the self-report, and students were allotted
30 minutes to complete the scale in exchange for course credit. Finally, the
18
enhanced 40 item LASS was administered to 188 students participating in Mass
Testing in the Spring of 2010. Again, informed consent was presented verbally
and obtained in writing prior to completing any measures. Data were collected
from 188 participants who received course credit. Four CFA’s will be run on the
three individual data sets and one composite data set. Again, comparison between
each individual data set with the composite data set will provide a robust analysis
of the findings.
Confirmatory factor analytic techniques will be used to confirm the
structure of the LASS in studies 2 and 3. Altogether, seven CFA’s will be run
using AMOS software. Analyzing data sets individually and as composites will
highlight discrepancies in the samples and provide a robust test of dimensionality.
19
Discussion
Our research provided support for a three factor solution with multiple
items loading predominantly on single factors. The factors identified were largely
independent, reliable, and accounted for nearly 60% of the cumulative variance in
the LASS.
We tentatively described the three factors as Negative Self-
Evaluation, Emotional Sensitivity, and Social Sensitivity.
After rotation, the
scales contributed nearly equivalent percentages in the cumulative variance (see
Table 1).
Using an orthogonal rotation was further justified by analyzing the
bivariate and partial correlations (tables 3-6). Bivariate correlations between
scales were significant, though moderate (r = .32-.47, p’s < .01). All correlations
decreased by no more than 8.1% when controlling for a third scale. In one
instance, the correlation between Negative Self-Evaluation and Social Sensitivity
decreased and became non-significant when controlling for Emotional Sensitivity.
The other two correlations remained significant, and therefore are not dependent
on variance contributed by a third variable. Overall, the scales appear to be
mostly independent, yet, not unexpectedly, correlate to some extent. The lack of
demographic information in this study is one glaring limitation. For example, it
would have been important to analyze males and females separately to identify
any gender effects. Fortunately, further administrations of the LASS include
assessment of gender, and in many cases, assessment of ethnicity, age, and other
useful information.
20
The six items loading onto the first factor, Negative Self-Evaluation,
inquire specifically about subjective states of self-worth, confidence, and
happiness (e.g., “I like myself”, “I never feel good enough”, “I am selfconfident”). Individuals scoring high on this subscale may have a low threshold
to evaluate the self in a negative light. In other words, these individuals may be
especially sensitive to negative information that is related to the self, similar to
negative schema, which translate into negative core beliefs, as first proposed by
Beck (1964).
Beck hypothesized that when activated, negative core beliefs
actually bias information that one already has or acquires about the self. Thus, we
expect that the Negative Self-Evaluation subscale of the LASS will correlate with
other measures of general psychopathology and negative self-evaluation (e.g.,
Brief Fear of Negative Evaluation, Leary, 1983), especially measures of
depression (e.g., Beck Depression Inventory-II, Beck, Steer, & Brown, 1996) and
neuroticism more generally (e.g., NEO-FFI, Trull & Sher, 1994). It remains to be
seen whether this scale will be retained in the final version of the sensitivity scale,
insofar as extant scales of negative self-evaluation may prove superior as standalone measures.
Seven items comprised the second factor, Emotional Sensitivity, which
measure low thresholds for criticism, negative feedback, and sensory stimulation
(e.g., “I cry easily”, “I am easily overwhelmed by loud noises or bright lights”,
“Even slight criticism is too much to bear”), with high scores representing low
thresholds. Items related to criticism loaded higher on Emotional Sensitivity than
Social Sensitivity.
One explanation may be that the items reflect emotional
21
reactivity to criticism more than awareness of existing or potential criticism.
Individuals with disorders associated with emotional dysregulation and
dysfunction, including borderline personality disorder (Linehan, 1993),
posttraumatic and acute stress disorders (Foa, Steketee, & Rothbaum, 1989),
bulimia (Telch, Agras, & Linehan, 2000), and substance abuse (Dimeff, Rizvi,
Brown, & Linehan, 2000) may score high on this scale. Items on this factor
overlap with items on scales of emotional intensity (EIS, Bachorowski & Braaten,
1994), sensory sensitivity (HSPS, Aron & Aron, 1997), and interpersonal
sensitivity (SCL-90-R, Derogatis, 1975).
Four items comprised the final subscale, Social Sensitivity, which
measures sensitivity to lack of approval or validation by others (e.g., “It is
important for me to be liked and approved of by others”, “I feel devastated when
people don’t approve of me”). High scores would indicate acute sensitivity to
others’ negative perceptions. Social Sensitivity may characterize individuals with
social phobia who fear evaluative or unfamiliar social situations, and also
characterize individuals with avoidant personality and histrionic personality
disorder who seek attention and approval of others to the point of being highly
suggestible and overdramatic. Individuals with depression and eating disorders
exhibit high levels of sociotropy, associated with approval seeking (Pettit &
Joiner, 2006; Matthews & Lynn, 2008). Psychopathic or antisocial individuals,
who lack empathy and attunement to others (Kiehl, Smith, Hare, Mendrek,
Forster, Brink, & Lidd, 2000), would be expected to score below norms for the
general population and other patient groups on this scale. Factor three may be
22
expected to correlate with measures of interpersonal sensitivity (SCL-90-R,
Derogatis, 1975), rejection sensitivity (RSQ, Downey & Feldman, 1996), anxiety
sensitivity (ASI-3, Peterson & Reiss, 1992), and emotional intensity (EIS,
Bachorowski & Braaten, 1994).
Given the early stage of scale development, our findings are promising.
Nevertheless, it remains to be seen whether the three factor structure will be
supported using CFA.
Hundreds of participants have been recruited and
administered the pure three factor LASS and an enhanced 40 item LASS. CFA’s
will be conducted on each data set individually and in composites to make this a
robust test. To determine the reliability of the LASS, we will analyze test-retest
reliability.
The addition of items to measure rejection sensitivity, affective
sensitivity, and anxiety sensitivity could potentially aid in the utility of this scale.
In future development, the names of the subscales in the LASS may need to be
adapted to fit the data.
To establish convergent and discriminant validity, we will compare the
LASS with other measures of personality. Appendix K outlines several measures
to be used (e.g., Acceptance Scale, Brief Fear of Negative Evaluation,
Hypersensitivity Narcissism Scale, State Trait Anxiety Inventory). By building
upon the groundwork paved by other personality researchers, we will construct a
scale comprised of multiple factors that measures the heterogeneous construct of
sensitivity. Such a scale could be useful in specifying different elevations and
deficits in sensitivity that may map onto established psychiatric disorders.
23
The ideal end result would tie an unelaborated psychological construct
with empirically sound data that would inform diagnoses and treatment. Profiles
of sensitivity could be generated in a manner similar to those generated by the
MMPI (Graham, 1989). Isolations or clusters of elevations or deficiencies in the
profile could characterize certain mental disorders and further aid the clinician in
developing a targeted treatment plan. In this way, the LASS would greatly
contribute to empirical research in psychology.
In subsequent iterations of the scale, we may find that the LASS overlaps
significantly with general psychopathology. Considering the potential association
of different factors of the scale with diverse manifestations of psychopathology,
this is a real possibility. Indeed, the term “vulnerability” may prove to be as
descriptive a term as “sensitivity”, depending on how the individual factors and
the total score relate to indices of psychopathology. In conclusion, the present
study is the first step in what promises to be a broad and in-depth assessment of
the psychological construct of sensitivity.
24
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31
Appendix A. Lynn & Accardi Sensitivity Scale (55 items)
1 Strongly Disagree 2 Disagree 3 Neutral 4 Agree 5 Strongly Agree 1. I love to be the center of attention.
2. I care a great deal about what other people think of me.
3. I take criticism very hard.
4. I have strong opinions.
5. I would describe myself as an “ultra-sensitive person.”
6. It is very important that people like me.
7. When I enter a room, I feel all eyes are on me.
8. I am an assertive person.
9. I like to watch people and wonder what they are thinking.
10. My feelings are easily hurt.
11. I look for deep or hidden meanings in what people say.
12. I make a good first impression.
13. When I am sad or anxious, I prefer to be alone.
14. I feel people can see right through me.
15. I feel great empathy for others.
16. I cry easily in movies.
17. I have my own opinions and don’t care much about what others think.
18. I was popular in grade school.
19. I will not say something if it will hurt someone else.
20. My parents like to brag about me.
21. Most people have no idea what I am feeling.
22. When someone I am with feels sad, I feel sad.
23. I worry that people will discover the “real me,” and not like me.
24. When I was young, children teased me a lot.
25. I am happy and well adjusted.
26. I am so sensitive I feel like I have one skin less than most people.
27. I have a good sense of humor.
28. I never feel “good enough.”
29. When I feel distressed, I hide my feelings.
30. I study people’s facial expressions to figure them out.
31. It is important for me to be liked and approved of by others.
32. I like myself.
33. Even slight criticism is too much to bear.
34. I have many wonderful memories of my parents.
35. I am easily overwhelmed by loud noises or bright lights.
36. People can read me like an open book.
37. I laugh easily.
32
38. When I was young, I was very shy.
39. I know what other people are thinking, even though they don’t say it.
40. I am comfortable sharing my thoughts and feelings with others.
41. I hate it when people are angry with me.
42. It doesn’t take much to make me feel self-conscious.
43. My parents were/are quick to point out what I did wrong.
44. I am self-confident.
45. I have many friends.
46. I am super-aware of other people’s moods.
47. I am a genuine person.
48. My parents set very high standards for me.
49. I am quick to anger.
50. I feel devastated when people don’t approve of me.
51. When I look in someone’s eyes, I know what the person is feeling.
52. I feel rejected a lot of the time.
53. I cry easily.
54. I am a loner.
55. I have difficulty accepting compliments.
33
Appendix B. The Lynn & Accardi Sensitivity Scale (17 items)
1 Strongly Disagree 2 Disagree 3 Neutral 4 Agree 5 Strongly Agree 1. I care a great deal about what other people think of me.
2. I take criticism very hard.
3. I would describe myself as an “ultra-sensitive person.”
4. It is very important that people like me.
5. My feelings are easily hurt.
6. I worry that people will discover the “real me,” and not like me.
7. I am happy and well adjusted.
8. I am so sensitive I feel like I have one skin less than most people.
9. I never feel “good enough.”
10. It is important for me to be liked and approved of by others.
11. I like myself.
12. Even slight criticism is too much to bear.
13. I am easily overwhelmed by loud noises or bright lights.
14. I am self-confident.
15. I feel devastated when people don’t approve of me.
16. I feel rejected a lot of the time.
17. I cry easily.
Appendix C. Lynn & Accardi Sensitivity Scale (40 items)
1 2 Strongly Disagree Disagree 3 Neutral 4 5 Agree Strongly Agree 1. I care a great deal about what other people think of me.
2. I take criticism very hard.
3. I would describe myself as an “ultra-sensitive person.”
4. I am not very emotional.
5. I am a joyful person.
6. It is very important that people like me.
7. I often experience strong positive emotions.
8. I wear a “mask” so no one will know me.
9. My feelings are easily hurt.
10. When people look at me, they know exactly what I feel.
34
11.
12.
13.
14.
15.
16.
17.
18.
19.
20.
21.
22.
23.
24.
25.
26.
27.
28.
29.
30.
31.
32.
33.
34.
35.
36.
37.
38.
39.
40.
I worry that people will discover the “real me,” and not like me.
I feel ashamed much of the time.
My emotions are right on the surface.
I am happy and well adjusted.
I could care less what other people think of me.
I am so sensitive I feel like I have one skin less than most people.
I am easily overwhelmed by negative feelings.
I never feel “good enough.”
It is important for me to be liked and approved of by others.
I am a very likeable person.
I like myself.
Even slight criticism is too much to bear.
I hide my real self so people will like me.
I rarely express what I truly feel.
I don’t care much about what other people think of me.
I love to be around people who are having fun.
I often am so full of good feelings that I can barely contain myself.
I am easily overwhelmed by loud noises or bright lights.
The slightest hint of rejection is painful.
I am very sensitive to how others perceive me in social situations.
It takes very little to make me laugh.
I am self-confident.
If people really knew me, they would want to be my friend.
I would do almost anything to avoid people judging me.
I feel devastated when people don’t approve of me.
I feel rejected a lot of the time.
I cry easily.
I often put on a false front of good adjustment.
I try hard to get people to like me.
I walk around smiling much of the time.
35
Appendix D. Anxiety Sensitivity Index (AS-3)
1. It is important for me not to appear nervous.
2. When I cannot keep my mind on a task, I worry that I might be going crazy.
3. It scares me when my heart beats rapidly.
4. When my stomach is upset, I worry that I might be seriously ill.
5. It scares me when I am unable to keep my mind on a task.
6. When I tremble in the presence of others, I fear what people might think of me.
7. When my chest feels tight, I get scared that I won’t be able to breathe properly.
8. When I feel pain in my chest, I worry that I’m going to have a heart attack.
9. I worry that other people will notice my anxiety.
10. When I feel “spacey” or spaced out I worry that I may be mentally ill.
11. It scares me when I blush in front of people.
12. When I notice my heart skipping a beat, I worry that there is something wrong with
me.
13. When I begin to sweat in a social situation, I fear people will think negatively of
me.
14. When my thoughts seem to speed up, I worry that I might be going crazy.
15. When my throat feels tight, I worry that I could choke to death.
16. When I have trouble thinking clearly, I worry that there is something wrong with
me.
17. I think it would be horrible for me to faint in public.
18. When my mind goes blank, I worry there is something terribly wrong with me.
© Taylor (2007)
Appendix E. Affective Sensitivity
Campbell, R. J. The development and validation of a multiple-choice scale
to measure affective sensitivity (empathy). Unpublished doctoral
dissertation, Michigan State University, 1967.
36
Appendix F. Rejection Sensitivity Questionnaire
1
2
3
4
Never
Sometimes
Often
Always
1. You ask someone in class if you can borrow his/her notes.
2. You ask your boyfriend/girlfriend to move in with you.
3. You ask your parents for help in deciding what programs to apply to.
4. You ask someone you don't know well out on a date.
5. Your girlfriend/boyfriend has plans to go out with friends tonight, but you really want to
spend the evening with him/her, and you tell him/her so.
6. You ask your parents for extra money to cover living expenses.
7. After class, you tell your professor that you have been having some trouble with a section of
the course and ask if he/she can give you some extra help.
8. You approach a close friend to talk after doing or saying something that seriously upset
him/her.
9. You ask someone in one of your classes to coffee.
10. After graduation you can't find a job and you ask your parents if you can live at home for a
while.
11. You ask a friend to go on vacation with you over Spring Break.
12. You call your boyfriend/girlfriend after a bitter argument and tell him/her you want to see
him/her.
13. You ask a friend if you can borrow something of his/hers.
14. You ask your parents to come to an occasion important to you.
15. You ask a friend to do you a big favor.
16. You ask your boyfriend/girlfriend if he/she really loves you.
17. You go to a party and notice someone on the other side of the room, and then you ask them
to dance.
18. You ask your boyfriend/girlfriend to come home to meet your parents.
© Downey & Feldman (1996)
37
Appendix G. Emotional Intensity Scale
Imagine yourself in the following situations and then choose the answer that best describes how you usually
feel.
1. Someone compliments me. I feel:
1. It has little effect
2. Mildly pleased. 3. Pleased.
on me.
2. I think about awful things that might happen. I feel:
1. It has little effect
on me.
4. Very pleased.
5. Ecstatic-on top of
the world.
2. A little
worried.
3. Worried.
4. Very worried.
5. So extremely
worried that I can
almost think of
nothing else.
2. Mildly happy.
3. Happy.
4. Extremely
happy.
5. Euphoric-so
happy I could burst.
3. Upset.
4. Very upset.
5. So extremely
upset I feel sick to
my stomach.
3. I am happy. I feel:
1. It has little effect
on me.
4. I see a child suffer. I feel:
1. It has little effect
on me.
2. A little upset.
5. Someone I am very attracted to asks me out for coffee. I feel:
1. Ecstatic-on top
2. Very thrilled.
3. Thrilled.
4. Mildly thrilled.
of the world.
6. Something frustrates me. I feel:
1. It has little effect
on me.
2. A little
frustrated.
3. Frustrated.
7. I achieve a personal best in my favorite sport. I feel:
1. It has little effect
2. Mildly pleased. 3. Happy.
on me.
8. I say or do something I should not have done. I feel:
1. It has little effect 2. A twinge of
3. Guilty.
on me.
guilt.
9. I am at the park with a favorite child. I feel:
1. It has little effect
on me.
2. Slightly
playful.
3. Playful.
4. Very frustrated.
5. So extremely
tense and frustrated
that my muscles
knot up.
4. Very happy.
5. Ecstatic-on top of
the world.
4. Very guilty.
5. Extremely guilty.
4. Very playful.
5. So playful I feel
like running around
the park.
10. Someone criticizes me. I feel:
1. It has little effect 2. I am a bit taken
3. Upset.
4. Very upset.
on me.
aback.
11. I receive positive feedback from a favorite professor. I feel:
1. Thrilled-so
2. Very happy.
3. Happy.
4. Mildly pleased.
happy I could
burst.
12. People do things to annoy me. I feel:
1. It has little effect
on me.
2. A little
bothered.
3. Annoyed.
5. It has little effect
on me.
4. Very annoyed.
5. So extremely
upset I could cry.
5. It has little effect
on me.
5. So extremely
annoyed I feel like
hitting them.
38
13. I hear a speech by a leader whose ideas I respect. I feel:
1. It has little effect
on me.
2. Slightly
impressed.
14. I have an embarrassing experience. I feel:
1. It has little effect 2. A little ill at
on me.
ease.
15. Someone I know is rude to me. I feel:
1. So incredibly
2. Very hurt.
hurt I could cry.
16. I am at a fun party. I feel:
1. It has little effect
on me.
2. A little
lighthearted.
3. Impressed.
4. Very impressed.
5. Inspired-so
impressed I have a
new sense of
purpose.
3.
Embarrassed.
4. Very
Embarrassed.
5. So embarrassed I
want to die.
3. Hurt.
4. A little hurt.
5. It has little effect
on me.
3. Lively.
4. Very lively.
5. So lively that I
almost feel like a
new person.
4. A little glad.
5. It has little effect
on me.
4. A little sad.
5. It has little effect
on me.
4. Very satisfied.
5. So satisfied it’s as
if my entire life was
worthwhile.
17. Something wonderful happens to me. I feel:
1. Extremely
2. Extremely
3. Glad.
joyful-exuberant.
glad.
18. I see a sad movie. I feel:
1. So extremely sad
2. Very sad.
3. Sad.
that I feel like
weeping.
19. I have accomplished something valuable. I feel:
1. It has little effect
on me.
2. A little
satisfied.
3. Satisfied.
20. Something angers me. I feel:
1. It has little effect
2. A little angry.
3. Angry.
4. Very angry.
on me.
21. A person with whom I am involved prepares me a candlelight dinner. I feel:
1. It has little effect
on me.
2. Slightly
romantic.
3. Romantic.
5. So angry I could
explode.
4. Very romantic.
5. So passionate
nothing else matters.
4. Very sorry.
5. So extremely
sorry I will do
anything to make it
up to them.
22. I have hurt someone’s feelings. I feel:
1. It has little effect
on me.
2. A little sorry.
3. Sorry.
23. I am late for work or school and I find myself in a traffic jam. I feel:
5. It has little effect
on me.
24. I am involved in a situation in which I must do well, such as an important exam or job interview. I feel:
5. So extremely
1. It has little effect 2. Slightly
anxious I can think
3. Anxious.
4. Very anxious.
on me.
anxious.
of nothing else.
25. My boss gives me an unexpected pat on the back and says, ‘nice work’. I feel:
1. Exuberant-my
4. Slightly
5. It has little effect
2. Very gratified. 3. Gratified.
day is perfect.
gratified.
on me.
1. In a rage.
2. Very angry.
3. Angry.
4. Slightly angry.
39
26. I am involved in a romantic relationship. I feel:
1. So consumed
with passion I can
2. Very
3. Passionate.
think of nothing
passionate.
else.
27. I attend the funeral of a casual acquaintance. I feel:
1. It has little effect
on me.
2. Mildly sad.
4. Mildly
passionate.
5. It has little effect
on me.
4. Very sad.
5. So extremely sad
that I cannot control
my tears.
3. Angry.
4. Very angry.
5. So incredibly
angry I find it
difficult to remain
composed.
3. Worried.
4. Mildly worried.
5. It has little effect
on me.
3. Grateful.
4. Very grateful.
5. So grateful I want
to run out and buy
them a gift in return.
3. Sad.
28. I am in an argument. I feel:
1. It has little effect
on me.
2. Mildly angry.
29. Payments on my bills are overdue. I feel:
1. In such a panic
that I can think of
2. Very worried.
nothing else.
30. Someone surprises me with a gift. I feel:
1. It has little effect
on me.
2. A little
grateful.
© Bachorowski & Braaten (1994)
40
Appendix H: Adult Temperament Questionnaire (version 1.3)
Circle:
1
Extremely untrue of you
2
Quite untrue of you
3
Slightly untrue of you
4
Neither true nor false of you
5
Slightly true of you
6
Quite true of you
7
Extremely true of you
X
Not Applicable
1.
2.
3.
4.
I become easily frightened.
I am often late for appointments.
Sometimes minor events cause me to feel intense happiness.
I find loud noises to be very irritating.
5.
It’s often hard for me to alternate between two different tasks.
6.
I rarely become annoyed when I have to wait in a slow moving line.
7.
I would not enjoy the sensation of listening to loud music with a laser light show.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
I often make plans that I do not follow through with.
I rarely feel sad after saying goodbye to friends or relatives.
Barely noticeable visual details rarely catch my attention.
Even when I feel energized, I can usually sit still without much trouble if it’s
necessary.
Looking down at the ground from an extremely high place would make me feel
uneasy.
13.
When I am listening to music, I am usually aware of subtle emotional tones.
14.
I would not enjoy a job that involves socializing with the public.
15.
I can keep performing a task even when I would rather not do it.
16.
I sometimes seem to be unable to feel pleasure from events and activities that I
should enjoy.
17.
18.
19.
20.
21.
22.
23.
24.
25.
I find it very annoying when a store does not stock an item that I wish to buy.
I tend to notice emotional aspects of paintings and pictures.
I usually like to talk a lot.
I seldom become sad when I watch a sad movie.
I’m often aware of the sounds of birds in my vicinity.
When I am enclosed in small places such as an elevator, I feel uneasy.
When listening to music, I usually like turn up the volume more than other people.
26.
27.
28.
29.
30.
31.
If the statement is:
I sometimes seem to understand things intuitively.
Sometimes minor events cause me to feel intense sadness.
It is easy for me to hold back my laughter in a situation when laughter wouldn't be
appropriate.
I can make myself work on a difficult task even when I don’t feel like trying.
I rarely ever have days where I don’t at least experience brief moments of intense
happiness.
When I am trying to focus my attention, I am easily distracted.
I would probably enjoy playing a challenging and fast paced video-game that makes
lots of noise and has lots of flashing, bright lights.
Whenever I have to sit and wait for something (e.g., a waiting room), I become
agitated.
41
32.
33.
34.
35.
36.
I find certain scratchy sounds very irritating.
37.
38.
39.
I like conversations that include several people.
I am usually a patient person.
When I am resting with my eyes closed, I sometimes see visual images.
40.
It is very hard for me to focus my attention when I am distressed.
Sometimes my mind is full of a diverse array of loosely connected thoughts and
images.
41.
42.
43.
44.
45.
46.
47.
48.
49.
50.
51.
52.
53.
54.
55.
Very bright colors sometimes bother me.
I can easily resist talking out of turn, even when I’m excited and want to express an
idea.
I would probably not enjoy a fast, wild carnival ride.
I sometimes feel sad for longer than an hour.
I rarely enjoy socializing with large groups of people.
If I think of something that needs to be done, I usually get right to work on it.
It doesn't take very much to make feel frustrated or irritated.
It doesn’t take much to evoke a happy response in me.
When I am happy and excited about an upcoming event, I have a hard time
focusing my attention on tasks that require concentration.
Sometimes, I feel a sense of panic or terror for no apparent reason.
I often notice mild odors and fragrances.
I often have trouble resisting my cravings for food drink, etc.
Colorful flashing lights bother me.
I usually finish doing things before they are actually due (for example, paying bills,
finishing homework, etc.).
56.
I often feel sad.
57.
I am often aware how the color and lighting of a room affects my mood.
58.
I usually remain calm without getting frustrated when things are not going smoothly
for me.
59.
Loud music is unpleasant to me.
When I'm excited about something, it's usually hard for me to resist jumping right
into it before I've considered the possible consequences.
60.
61.
Loud noises sometimes scare me.
62.
I sometimes dream of vivid, detailed settings that are unlike anything that I have
experienced when awake.
When I see an attractive item in a store, it’s usually very hard for me to resist
buying it.
63.
64.
I would enjoy watching a laser show with lots of bright, colorful flashing lights.
65.
When I hear of an unhappy event, I immediately feel sad.
When I watch a movie, I usually don’t notice how the setting is used to convey the
mood of the characters.
I usually like to spend my free time with people.
It does not frighten me if I think that I am alone and suddenly discover someone
close by.
66.
67.
68.
69.
70.
I'm often bothered by light that is too bright.
I rarely notice the color of people’s eyes.
I seldom become sad when I hear of an unhappy event.
When interrupted or distracted, I usually can easily shift my attention back to
whatever I was doing before.
I am often consciously aware of how the weather seems to affect my mood.
It takes a lot to make me feel truly happy.
42
71.
I am rarely aware of the texture of things that I hold.
72.
73.
74.
75.
When I am afraid of how a situation might turn out, I usually avoid dealing with it.
I especially enjoy conversations where I am able to say things without thinking first.
Without applying effort, creative ideas sometimes present themselves to me.
When I try something new, I am rarely concerned about the possibility of failing.
76.
It is easy for me to inhibit fun behavior that would be inappropriate.
77.
I would not enjoy the feeling that comes from yelling as loud as I can.
© Evans & Rothbart (2007)
0
Strongly
Disagree
1
Appendix I. Highly Sensitive Person Scale
2
3
4
5
6
7
Strongly
Agree
1. Are you easily overwhelmed by strong sensory input?
2. Do you seem to be aware of subtleties in your environment?
3. Do other people’s moods affect you?
4. Do you tend to be more sensitive to pain?
5. Do you find yourself needing to withdraw during busy days into bed or into a darkened room or
any place where you can have some privacy and relief from stimulation?
6. Are you particularly sensitive to the effects of caffeine?
7. Are you easily overwhelmed by things like bright lights, strong smells, coarse fabrics, or sirens
close by?
8. Do you have a rich, complex inner life?
9. Are you made uncomfortable by loud noises?
10. Are you deeply moved by the arts or music?
11. Does your nervous system sometimes feel so frazzled that you just have to get off by yourself?
12. Are you conscientious?
13. Do you startle easily?
14. Do you get rattled when you have a lot to do in a short amount of time?
15. When people are uncomfortable in a physical environment do you tend to know what needs to
be done to make it more comfortable (like changing the lighting or seating)?
16. Are you annoyed when people try to get you to do too many things at once?
17. Do you try hard to avoid making mistakes or forgetting things?
18. Do you make a point to avoid violent movies and TV shows?
19. Do you become unpleasantly aroused when a lot is going on around you?
20. Does being very hungry create a strong reaction in you, disrupting your concentration or
mood?
21. Do changes in your life shake you up?
22. Do you notice and enjoy delicate or fine scents, tastes, sounds, works of art?
23. Do you find it unpleasant to have a lot going on at once?
24. Do you make it a high priority to arrange your life to avoid upsetting or overwhelming
situations?
25. Are you bothered by intense stimuli, like loud noises or chaotic scenes?
26. When you must compete or be observed while performing a task, do you become so nervous or
shaky that you do much worse than you would otherwise?
27. When you were a child, did parents or teachers seem to see you as sensitive or shy?
© Aron & Aron (1997)
43
Appendix J. SCL-90-R
Interpersonal Sensitivity Scale (I-S)
(5-pt. scoring system)
How much [in the past 7 days, including today] were you distressed by:
6. Feeling critical of others.
21. Feeling shy or uneasy with the opposite sex.
34. Your feelings being easily hurt.
36. Feeling others do not understand you or are unsympathetic.
37. Feeling that people are unfriendly or dislike you.
41. Feeling inferior to others.
61. Feeling uneasy when people are watching or talking about you.
69. Feeling very self-conscious with others.
73. Feeling uncomfortable about eating or drinking in public.
© Derogatis (1975)
Appendix K. Construct Validation of Lynn & Accardi Sensitivity Scale
Abbrev.
Scale
Developed/Revised
AS-5
Williams (2007)
Leary (1983)
CES-D
Acceptance Scale (33 items)
Brief Fear of Negative Evaluation Scale (12
items)
Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression
Scale (20 items)
EIS
Emotional Intensity Scale (30 items)
Bachorowski & Braaten (1994)
HSNS
Hypersensitivity Narcissism Scale (10 items)
Hendin & Cheek (1997)
HSPS
Highly Sensitive Person Scale (27 items)
Inventory of Childhood Memories and
Imaginings (52 items)
Aron & Aron (1997)
Lynn & Accardi (unpublished)
SNAP-2
Lynn and Accardi Sensitivity Scale (40 items)
Marlowe Crowne Social Desirability Scale (33
items)
Neuroticism-Extraversion-Openness Five Factor
Inventory (60 items)
Schedule for Nonadaptive and Adaptive
Personality (390 items)
STAI
State Trait Anxiety Inventory (40 items)
BFNE
ICMI
LASS
MCSDS
NEOFFI
Radloff (1977)
Wilson & Barber (1981)
Crowne & Marlowe (1960)
Trull & Sher (1994)
Clark, Simms, Wu, & Casillas (in press)
Spielberger (1983)
44
Table 1. Items loaded onto 3-Factor solution using PCA (orthogonal-varimax rotation)
Rotated Component Matrix
Item (17 total)
32b. I like myself.
25 b . I am happy and well adjusted.
52. I feel rejected a lot of the time.
28. I never feel "good enough".
44 b . I am self-confident.
23. I worry that people will discover the "real
me," and not like me.
Rotated Factor Loadings
1
.818
.770
.723
.710
.702
.679
10. My feelings are easily hurt.
53. I cry easily.
5. I would describe myself as an "ultra
sensitive" person.
35. I am easily overwhelmed by loud noises
or bright lights.
26. I am so sensitive I feel like I have one less
skin than most people.
2
3
.762
.689
.679
.630
.541
33. Even slight criticism is too much to bear.
3. I take criticism very hard.
31. It is important for me to be liked and
approved of by others.
.579
.566
.539
.412
.809
2. I care a great deal about what other people
think of me.
.771
50. I feel devastated when people don't
approve of me.
6. It is very important that people like me.
.716
Eigenvalues
% of Variance
% of Variance after Rotation
Cumulative Variance
Cronbach's Alpha (pure factors) = .875
1. negative self-evaluation
2. emotional sensitivity
3. social sensitivity
.706
5.86
34.473
22.327
22.327
0.847
2.301
13.536
18.006
40.333
0.813
1.623
9.545
17.221
57.554
0.797
Indicates reverse scoring. The high factor loading onto factors 1, 2, and 3
should be interpreted negatively.
b
Table 2.
Negative Self-Evaluation
Emotional Sensitivity
Social Sensitivity
Descriptive Statistics of the 3 Factor LASS
17 items
Std.
Mean
N=
Deviation
14.1048
4.39293
17.1532
4.70952
12.4516
2.76257
124
124
124
45
Table 3. Bivariate Correlations a of the 3 Factor LASS
Negative SelfEvaluation
Negative SelfEvaluation
Emotional Sensitivity
Social Sensitivity
Pearson's r
Sig. (2-tailed)
Pearson's r
Sig. (2-tailed)
Pearson's r
Sig. (2-tailed)
1
Emotional
Sensitivity
Social Sensitivity
.466**
.323**
0
1
.466**
0
.434**
0
.323**
0
1
.434**
0
0
**. Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).
a. Listwise N=124
Table 4. Partial Correlation of Scales 1 and 2 (controlling for scale 3)
Control
Variables
-none-(a)
Negative SelfEvaluation
Negative SelfEvaluation
Emotional
Sensitivity
Social
Sensitivity
Social
Sensitivity
Negative SelfEvaluation
Emotional
Sensitivity
Correlation
Emotional
Sensitivity
Social
Sensitivity
1.000
.466
.323
Significance (2-tailed)
.
.000
.000
df
0
122
122
.466
1.000
.434
Correlation
Significance (2-tailed)
.000
.
.000
df
122
0
122
.323
.434
1.000
Significance (2-tailed)
.000
.000
.
df
122
122
0
1.000
.382
Significance (2-tailed)
.
.000
df
0
121
.382
1.000
Significance (2-tailed)
.000
.
df
121
0
Correlation
Correlation
Correlation
a Cells contain zero-order (Pearson) correlations.
46
Table 5. Scales 1 and 3 (controlling for Scale 2)
Control
Variables
-none-(a)
Negative SelfEvaluation
Negative SelfEvaluation
Social
Sensitivity
Emotional
Sensitivity
Emotional
Sensitivity
Negative SelfEvaluation
Social
Sensitivity
Correlation
Social
Sensitivity
Emotional
Sensitivity
1.000
.323
.466
Significance (2-tailed)
.
.000
.000
df
0
122
122
.323
1.000
.434
Significance (2-tailed)
.000
.
.000
df
122
0
122
.466
.434
1.000
Significance (2-tailed)
.000
.000
.
df
122
122
0
1.000
.152
Significance (2-tailed)
.
.094
df
0
121
.152
1.000
Significance (2-tailed)
.094
.
df
121
0
Correlation
Correlation
Correlation
Correlation
a Cells contain zero-order (Pearson) correlations.
Table 6. Scales 2 and 3 (controlling for Scale 1)
Control
Variables
-none-(a)
Emotional
Sensitivity
Emotional
Sensitivity
Social
Sensitivity
Negative SelfEvaluation
Negative SelfEvaluation
Emotional
Sensitivity
Social
Sensitivity
Correlation
Negative
SelfEvaluation
Social
Sensitivity
1.000
.434
.466
Significance (2-tailed)
.
.000
.000
df
0
122
122
.434
1.000
.323
Correlation
Significance (2-tailed)
.000
.
.000
df
122
0
122
.466
.323
1.000
Significance (2-tailed)
.000
.000
.
df
122
122
0
1.000
.339
Significance (2-tailed)
.
.000
df
0
121
.339
1.000
Significance (2-tailed)
.000
.
df
121
0
Correlation
Correlation
Correlation
a Cells contain zero-order (Pearson) correlations.
47
Figure 1. Flowchart of Recruitment
Study 1
Original 55 Item LASS Under‐graduate Course
Spring 2009 n = 125 Research Experiment
Fall 2009 n = 205 Total N = 936 Study 2
Revised 17 Item LASS Mass Testing
Fall 2009 n = 291 Under‐graduate Course
Fall 2009 n = 92 Study 3
Enhanced 40 Item LASS Research Experiment
Fall 2009 n = 31 Mass Testing
Spring 2010 n = 188 48
Figure 2. Scree Plot
(justification for retaining a 3-factor solution)
49
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