Development of a measure of kindness

Donna E. Youngs*, Miroslava A. Yaneva, David V. Canter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the spirit of the growing developments in positive psychology, there is an increasing interest in how kind people are to each other. Yet, this area lacks any strong psychometric instrument. An initial exploratory study demonstrated that a 40-item questionnaire, completed by 165 people, revealed distinct aspects of kindness when subjected to multivariate analysis. A subsequent study is reported, using the structure of the exploratory results to further clarify the conceptual framework (Study 1). The revised 45-item questionnaire was administered to 1039 individuals from the general British population. Smallest Space Analysis of the variables, supported by Factor analysis, confirmed the hypothesis of two facets to kindness, the psychological source of the action (from principles or empathy), and the form of expression (through psychological involvement or following social prescription. It also revealed an additional general, core kindness, labelled Anthropophilia. Reliable scales derived from the combinations of the two elements from each facet were identified: Affective-Socially Prescribed; Affective-Proactive; Principle-Socially Prescribed and Principle-Proactive. Intercorrelations between the scales revealed that they measure different modes of kindness. Comparisons between male and female respondents provided external validity for the questionnaire. Study 2 (N = 251) reported that the scales measure independent dimensions when correlated with similar and dissimilar concepts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5428-5440
Number of pages13
JournalCurrent Psychology
Issue number7
Early online date26 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2023
Externally publishedYes

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