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Psychometric properties of the Highly Sensitive Child scale across developmental stage, gender, and country

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

Adolescents differ in their degree of Environmental Sensitivity, that is, the ability to perceive and process information about their environment. The present study aimed to investigate the psychometric properties of the Highly Sensitive Child scale (HSC), a self-report measure of Environmental Sensitivity, in two Belgian and UK samples with a total of 3056 adolescents. First, the factor structure, internal consistency, dimensionality, and construct validity of the HSC scale were examined. Second, measurement invariance of the HSC scale across developmental stage, gender, and country was tested. Results supported a bifactor model with a general sensitivity factor and three group factors: Ease of Excitation (EOE), Low Sensory Threshold (LST), and Aesthetic Sensitivity (AES). Cronbach’s alpha and McDonalds’s (hierarchical) omega indicated that the HSC scale is a reliable measure of Environmental Sensitivity, except for AES. Furthermore, AES was associated with different personality traits than EOE and LST. Second, the HSC scale was partially measurement invariant across developmental stage, gender, and country. The results provide important insights in the psychometrics of a first measurement of Environmental Sensitivity in early to late adolescents. Implications for further research are discussed.
Journal: Current Psychology
ISSN: 1046-1310
Issue: 7
Volume: 40
Pages: 3309 - 3325
Accessibility:Open