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Pamela Reed’s self-transcendence Scale

The self-transcendence Scale (STS) is a psychological instrument that assesses the extent to which an individual transcends the boundaries of the self and connects with something greater. The concept of self-transcendence has been explored by various thinkers and researchers, and it is generally understood as a developmental process that involves expanding one’s perspectives, activities, and purposes beyond the self without losing the value of the self and the present context.

self-transcendence can be expressed in different ways, such as inwardly through introspection, outwardly through altruism, temporally through integrating past and future into the present, and transpersonally through relating to a higher power or dimension. In this article, we will review the theoretical background, development, structure, administration, scoring, interpretation, and applications of the STS. We will also discuss some of the benefits and challenges of using the STS in research and practice.

What is the self-transcendence Scale (STS)?

The self-transcendence Scale (STS) is a psychological test that measures the degree to which an individual is self-transcendent. self-transcendence is a concept that has been described by many different philosophers and psychologists over the years. It refers to the ability to go beyond one’s own ego and connect with something greater than oneself, such as other people, nature, the universe, or a higher power. self-transcendence can be seen as a developmental resource that enhances one’s well-being, meaning, and wisdom.

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The STS was developed by Pamela Reed in 1986, based on her earlier work on the Developmental Resources of Later Adulthood scale. The STS consists of 15 items that capture various aspects of self-transcendence, such as introspection, altruism, temporal integration, and transcendental awareness. The items are rated on a 4-point scale from 1 (not at all) to 4 (very much), indicating how much the respondent experiences each item in their current life. The STS can be administered as an interview or a questionnaire, and it takes about 10 minutes to complete.

The STS has been used in various studies with different populations, such as older adults, cancer patients, nurses, and college students. The STS has shown good reliability and validity across different samples and settings. The STS has also been translated into several languages, such as Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, and Chinese. The STS can be used for research purposes, as well as for clinical and educational interventions that aim to foster self-transcendence and its positive outcomes.

Click here to access Reeds self-transcendence Scale – sts-2018

How is the self-transcendence Scale Used?

The STS can be administered as an interview or a questionnaire, and it uses a 4-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (not at all) to 4 (very much) to measure the degree to which the respondents experience each item in their current life. Some examples of the items are: “Sharing my wisdom and experience with others”, “Finding meaning in my past experiences”, and “Feeling connected to a higher power”. The total score reflects the overall level of self-transcendence and can range from 15 to 60, with higher scores indicating higher levels of self-transcendence.

The STS has been validated across different populations and settings, such as older adults, adolescents, cancer patients, nurses, and hospice workers. The scale has shown good reliability, with Cronbach’s alpha coefficients ranging from 0.80 to 0.88. The scale has also demonstrated good content validity, based on a thorough literature review and careful item construction and refinement. The construct validity of the scale has been supported by various empirical studies that have found significant correlations between the STS and other measures of wellbeing, spirituality, coping, resilience, and quality of life.

The STS is a useful tool for researchers and practitioners who are interested in exploring the role of self-transcendence in human development, health, and wellbeing. The scale can help identify individuals who have high or low levels of self-transcendence and provide insights into their strengths and challenges. The scale can also be used to evaluate the effects of interventions that aim to enhance self-transcendence and promote positive outcomes for individuals and groups.

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How has the STS been used, and what were the results?

The STS has been used in various studies to explore the role of self-transcendence in human development, wellbeing, and coping. For example, some studies have found that self-transcendence is associated with higher levels of life satisfaction, happiness, optimism, resilience, and spiritual growth. Other studies have examined how self-transcendence can help people cope with stressful or challenging situations, such as chronic illness, ageing, bereavement, and existential anxiety. Some examples of these studies are:

  • A study by Coward (1990) that investigated the relationship between self-transcendence and well-being among older adults with cancer. The results indicated that self-transcendence was positively correlated with emotional well-being and negatively correlated with depression.
  • A study by Reed (1991) that explored the effects of self-transcendence on adaptation to widowhood. The results indicated that self-transcendence was a significant predictor of positive adjustment and reduced loneliness among widows.
  • A study by Levasseur et al. (2010) that examined the impact of self-transcendence on quality of life among older adults with vision loss. The findings revealed that self-transcendence was positively related to quality of life and mediated the effect of vision loss on quality of life.

These studies suggest that self-transcendence is a valuable resource that can enhance one’s psychological well-being and help one cope with adversity. The STS is a useful tool that can measure this construct and provide insights into its development and outcomes.

Strengths and weaknesses of the self-transcendence Scale

The self-transcendence Scale (STS) is a psychological instrument that measures the extent to which individuals experience a sense of connection with themselves, others, nature, and a higher power. The STS has been widely used in various fields of research, such as spirituality, health, ageing, and wellbeing. However, like any other measure, the STS has its strengths and weaknesses that need to be considered before applying it.

One of the strengths of the STS is that it is based on a well-developed theoretical framework of self-transcendence, which is defined as “the expansion of self-boundaries inwardly toward a greater awareness of one’s true self; outwardly toward an appreciation of one’s interconnectedness with others and nature; and temporally toward an integration of one’s past and future in the present” (Reed, 2008). The STS reflects this multidimensional concept of self-transcendence by assessing four subscales: intrapersonal, interpersonal, transpersonal, and temporal. The STS also has good psychometric properties, such as reliability, validity, and factor structure, as evidenced by numerous studies (Reed & Neville, 2004; Reed et al., 2012; Van Dierendonck & Mohan, 2006).

One of the weaknesses of the STS is that it may not capture the full complexity and diversity of self-transcendence experiences across different cultures, religions, and contexts. The STS was developed and validated mainly in Western samples, which may limit its applicability and generalizability to other populations. Moreover, the STS may not adequately measure some aspects of self-transcendence that are important for certain groups or individuals, such as mystical experiences, altruism, compassion, or social justice. Therefore, the STS may need to be supplemented or adapted with other measures or methods to capture the richness and nuances of self-transcendence phenomena (Piedmont et al., 2014; Reed et al., 2012).

Further reading

If you are interested in learning more about the self-transcendence Observation Scale (STOS), a measure of the psychosocial/spiritual resource of developmental maturity, here are some weblinks for further reading:

The self-transcendence scale: an investigation of the factor structure among nursing home patients. This article reports on a study that examined the dimensionality of the Norwegian version of the STOS using exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis. The results indicated that the STOS has two or four internally consistent dimensions, and that self-transcendence is a multifactorial construct.

self-transcendence: Scale and Theory. This document provides an overview of the STOS, its theoretical background, its development, its administration, and its psychometric properties. It also includes a copy of the STOS and its scoring instructions.

self-transcendence and well-being in homeless adults. This article describes a study that explored the relationship between self-transcendence and well-being in a sample of homeless adults using the STOS and other measures. The findings suggested that self-transcendence is positively associated with psychological well-being, social support, and life satisfaction in this population.

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