Psychometric Properties of the Highly Sensitive Child Scale in Samples of Croatian Children and Adolescents
Keywords:HSC scale, reliability, validity, confirmatory factor analysis, measurement invariance
AbstractEnvironmental sensitivity refers to how readily one registers and how deeply one processes information from the environment. Individual differences in environmental sensitivity determine an individual’s reactions to positive and negative environmental influences. The role of environmental sensitivity in children’s development has been underresearched, in large part because the first direct measure of children’s environmental sensitivity has only recently been developed. The aim of this study is to examine the psychometric properties of this measure – the Highly Sensitive Child (HSC) Scale (Pluess et al., 2018) – in Croatia. As part of the project How are we? Life in Croatia in the age of Coronavirus, primary (N = 407) and secondary (N = 307) school-aged children completed the HSC Scale and the IPIP-15 via an online survey. The HSC Scale, a self-report measure of environmental sensitivity, demonstrated satisfactory reliability and validity levels among Croatian children and adolescents. The scale has a bifactor structure and measures general environmental sensitivity and three specific dimensions: aesthetic sensitivity, low sensory threshold and ease of excitation. Partial measurement invariance for children of different genders and ages was confirmed. Correlations of subscales and general environmental sensitivity with personality traits are moderate and theoretically meaningful. The scale demonstrated good psychometric characteristics and is recommended for use in future research, although further research on the subscales is needed. Application of this scale can contribute to knowledge about the effects of positive and negative environmental influences on the development of children and adolescents.