Child & Youth Care Forum

, Volume 48, Issue 1, pp 93–110 | Cite as

Psychometric Properties of the Compass of Shame Scale: Testing for Measurement Invariance Across Community Boys and Boys in Foster Care and Juvenile Detentions Facilities

  • Paula VagosEmail author
  • Diana Ribeiro da Silva
  • Nélio Brazão
  • Daniel Rijo
  • Jeff Elison
Original Paper



Shame has been found to relate to several psychopathologies, but the way the individual copes with experiences of shame may determine specific expressions of psychopathology, making it essential to rigorously address such coping styles.


This study evaluated the psychometric properties of a Portuguese version of the Compass of Shame Scale using an adolescent sample, to investigate if its internal structure was valid for diverse adolescent subsamples, and to gather evidence on the construct validity of the instrument.


Adolescent community boys and girls (n = 1924; 52.3% boys) and adolescent boys with a history of behavior problems taken from foster care and juvenile detention facilities (n = 396) filled in self-report questionnaires on coping with shame and other relevant constructs.


A five-factor model was applicable to exploring the coping with shame of adolescent community boys and girls and adolescent boys with behavior problems. Girls, in comparison with boys, more frequently internalized shame or coped with it adaptively. Boys taken from foster care and juvenile detention facilities, compared with community boys, more often externalized shame by attacking others and less frequently attacked themselves, avoided shame experiences or coped with it adaptively. Construct validity in relation to self-criticism, external shame, and experiential avoidance was found.


The measure demonstrated reliability and validity estimates consistent with expectations across diverse samples of adolescents. So, it may help advance knowledge on how diverse youth cope with shame and on the interchanges between experiencing shame, managing shame, and psychopathology.


Shame Shame coping-styles Psychometrics Measurement invariance Adolescence Disruptive behavior 



The authors would like to thank the psychologists from foster care and juvenile detention facilities for collaborating in this research, as well as Marta Capinha and Maria do Natal Sousa for helping in the assessment in the Azores Island. The authors would also like to thank the several undergraduate students at the University of Coimbra that contributed to data collection.


ESF – European Regional Development Fund through the COMPETE 2020 – Operational Programme for Competitiveness and Internationalization and FCT – Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (reference project POCI-01-0145-FEDER-016724).

Supplementary material

10566_2018_9474_MOESM1_ESM.docx (18 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 18 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Research in Neuropsychology and Cognitive and Behavioral Intervention, Faculty of Psychology and Educational SciencesUniversity of CoimbraCoimbraPortugal
  2. 2.Portucalense Institute for Human Development – INPPUniv. PortucalenseOportoPortugal
  3. 3.School of Psychology and Life SciencesLusófona UniversityLisbonPortugal
  4. 4.Adams State UniversityDenverUSA

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