A new measure of psychological safety for patients

A new scale for measuring the psychological safety of patients has been developed at the University of Strathclyde.

Researchers devised the scale, consisting of 29 items, to assess how safe a person feels. It is further divided into three sub-scales of Social Engagement, Compassion and Bodily Sensations.

The items were identified from the responses to a questionnaire, in which participants were asked how strongly they agreed with 107 statements such as: ‘I felt understood’; ‘I felt compassion for others,’ and ‘my heart rate felt steady.’

Using statistical methods, the researchers established which statements were most associated with feeling safe, leading to the 29-item scale.

The measure, which has been named the Neuroception of Psychological Safety Scale (NPSS), is the first of its kind, combining psychological, physiological and social components. It has the potential to be used in a broad range of settings, such as tracking progress in psychological therapy or assessing whether a sense of psychological safety enhances learning or improves hospital outcomes.

It can also be applied to psychological safety in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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