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The Development, Factor Structure, and Validation of the Self-concept and Identity Measure (SCIM): A Self-Report Assessment of Clinical Identity Disturbance

  • Erin A. Kaufman
  • Jenny M. Cundiff
  • Sheila E. Crowell
Article

Abstract

Clinically relevant identity disturbance, rather than more normative identity confusion, is a construct that has received limited empirical attention. This relative lack of empirical research is surprising, given that identity disturbance is a criterion for BPD, among the proposed features of all DSM-5 personality disorders, and may also be relevant for many other psychiatric diagnoses. The nomenclature used to describe identity-related constructs is currently unstandardized and many theorists have described overlapping concepts. Thus, there is a need to operationalize identity problems and improve measurement of this important construct. In this article we report the results of two studies that establish the psychometric properties and factor structure of the Self-Concept and Identity Measure (SCIM). The SCIM is a brief, self-report scale designed to assess dimensions of identity (healthy and disturbed) among adults. Participants were recruited through a psychology department subject pool (Study 1; n = 536) and also through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk Website (Study 2; n = 470). An exploratory factor analysis of Study 1 data revealed a 3-factor structure. A confirmatory factor analysis validated the 3-factor structure in the community sample recruited for Study 2. Results indicate that the SCIM is correlated with emotion dysregulation, Borderline Personality Disorder, depression, and other measures of psychopathology. Scores on the SCIM yielded high internal consistency (Cronbach’s α = 0.89), test–retest reliability (α = 0.93, r = 0.88; intraclass correlation coefficient = 0.88), and adequate construct validity. The SCIM appears to produce valid and reliable test scores, with promising applications for clinical research and practice.

Keywords

Identity disturbance Psychopathology Emotion dysregulation Assessment Factor analysis 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Support for these studies came from institutional start-up funds provided to Dr. Sheila E. Crowell by the University of Utah. The authors would like to acknowledge Dr. Jonathan Butner for statistical consultation and the experiment participants.

Conflict of Interest

Erin A. Kaufman declares no conflict of interest; Jenny M. Cundiff declares no conflict of interest; Sheila E. Crowell declares no conflict of interest.

Experiment Participants

All experimental procedures were approved by the Institutional Review Board at the University of Utah. The manuscript states that informed consent was obtained from all participants.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erin A. Kaufman
    • 1
  • Jenny M. Cundiff
    • 1
  • Sheila E. Crowell
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA

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