Volume 24, Issue 2 (summer 2022)                   Advances in Cognitive Sciences 2022, 24(2): 113-126 | Back to browse issues page

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Attary T, Radman N, Ghazizadeh A. Psychometric properties of the Persian version of sensory processing sensitivity scale. Advances in Cognitive Sciences. 2022; 24 (2) :113-126
URL: http://icssjournal.ir/article-1-1392-en.html
1- Bio-Intelligence Unit, Sharif Brain Center, Electrical Engineering Department, Sharif University of Technology, Tehran, Iran
2- Psychiatry Department, Roozbeh Hospital, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran / School of Cognitive Sciences, Institute for Research in Fundamental Sciences, IPM, Tehran, Iran
Abstract:   (356 Views)
About 20-35% of the population have a trait known as Sensory Processing Sensitivity (SPS),also referred to as a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) (1-3). People with SPS are more sensitive to loud noise, intense light, and pain. They have a deeper understanding of the aesthetic features, and have more empathy (4). Because people with SPS show enhanced sensitivity to positive and negative stimuli, SPS can be misdiagnosed as a sensory processing disorder or Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD). However, hypersensitivity in people with SPS is caused by  deeper processing of sensory stimuli in the brain, while people with the two disorders mentioned above reveal poor or disproportionate sensory processing and lack/impairment of response of the nervous structures (7).
Aron and Aron have designed a 27-item HSP questionnaire (addressed as HSP scale - HSPS, in this paper) and considered it as a unitary questionnaire (3). Later research aroused controversy on different dimensions of this questionnaire, categorizing the questions of the HSPS into two (9), three (10), four (11), and six (12) dimensions.
The current study present the full version of HSPS translated to Persian (addressed as HSPS-P in the paper) and examine its construct, face and content validity, and reliability. Because of the possible confounding effects of depression and anxiety on the SPS score (1, 2, 29), this study performed further analyses to control such confounds using depression and anxiety questionnaires. Factor analysis was done to define SPS subdomains to evaluate the construct validity of HSPS-P (10).
Two English translators, native Persian speakers, translated the HSPS to Persian to prepare the Persian version of the questionnaire. Then, four independent experts from psychology, psychometrics, and psychiatry fields evaluated the questionnaire for face and content validity using a five-valued Likert scale. In the next step, four more English translators back-translated the questionnaire into English to compare with the original one. Next, as a pilot study, 31 people filled out the HSPS-P and wrote their impressions about each question. All of these processes resulted in finalized HSPS-P with a high validity.
A total of 484 participants (343 female) without any underlying physical or mental illnesses, aged between 18 and 78 years old (Mean=25.08, SD=9.48), filled out the HSPS-P questionnaire. Given the previous reports on the high correlation between SPS, depression, and anxiety, previously validated Persian questionnaires for depression (Goldberg for depression) (16) and anxiety (Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI) (18) were also administered to all participants. This research used Cronbach’s alpha to evaluate internal consistency. Later, to measure the reliability of the questionnaire, 168 participants (124 female) filled the HSPS-P a second time. Split-half test was conducted as a part of reliability testing and evaluating the consistency of the scores of the test. In order to control the effect of depression and anxiety, this study separated all the participants with high anxiety and depression. Further analyses were then done on the subgroup of participants:
1) Without depression
2) Without anxiety
3) Without depression and anxiety
The questionnaire was administered using an online Google form. All study procedures were approved by Institute for Research in Fundamental Sciences (IPM) Ethics Committee (Permit# 99/60/1/6115).
Evaluating construct validity and reliability of HSPS-P
The Cronbach coefficient of the HSPS-P was 0.81 showing high internal consistency. There was also significant test-retest reliability (r=0.78; P<0.001), and the split-half coefficient was r=0.66 (P<0.001). Comparing these results to the other studies showed that the current research had good reliability.
A principal components analysis was applied to the HSPS-P (eigenvalue: 1.00, 1.03, 1.15, 1.23, 1.26, 1.49, 2.33, and 5.22). Factor analysis using the Scree test revealed three principal dimensions consistent with previous reports. The first component (ease of excitation) included questions 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 11, 13, 14, 16, 19, 20, 21, 23, 26, and 27, and the second component (aesthetic sensitivity) included questions 2, 10, 12, 15, 17, and 22, and the third component (low sensory threshold) include the questions 6, 18, 24, and 25, similar to the findings by Smolewska et al. (10).
Evaluating construct validity and reliability of HSPS-P: controlling the effect of depression and anxiety
As expected, the obtained results also confirmed that the HSPS-P was positively associated with depression and anxiety (0.42, and 0.39, respectively, P<0.001 in both tests). The present study also examined the reliability and validity of HSPS-P while controlling the effects of depression and anxiety.
When controlling the effect of depression and anxiety separately or together (i.e., by removing the participants who showed high scores in the Goldberg depression questionnaire and BAI for anxiety), this study found similar Cronbach’s alpha (~0.8) and reliability (r~0.78, P<0.001) as without controlling for these effects. Also, the split-half coefficient with the control of depression and anxiety separately and together was r~0.67 (P<0.001). The high reliability shows the robustness of HSPS-P in assessing the degree of sensitivity despite high correlations with depressive and anxiety traits in an independent fashion.
The present study aimed at translating and adapting the full version of the highly sensitive person scale (HSPS) in Persian (HSPS-P) and investigating the validity and reliability of HSPS-P. Because of the possible confounding effects of depression and anxiety, the study used the validated versions of the Goldberg depression questionnaire and BAI along with the HSPS-P (1, 29). The validity and reliability of HSPS-P were checked with and without controlling the effect of depression and anxiety. The results showed high validity and reliability in both cases (20-23, 29). The obtained results also showed a positive correlation between HSPS-P and depression and anxiety (24-26).
Factor analysis of the HSPS-P indicated a three-component structure in SPS, which was stable even when controlling for the effects of anxiety and depression. These results are in line with the three components suggested in Smolewska et al.’s research  (10).
This study’s mode of data collection (online) can be considered a limitation (27). However, a relatively large sample size compensated for the effect of different testing environments. This was confirmed by the high test-retest reliability of the study. In addition, online questionnaires have primarily been used in psychological studies and the results obtained are comparable to the ones in paper-based methods (28).
This research note that a 25-item Persian translation of HSPS was introduced previously (8). However, the analysis showed various inconsistencies in the translation and validity of this questionnaire. This prompted us to conduct the current study to provide the full 27-item with detailed validity and reliability analyses described above.
Ethical Considerations
Compliance with ethical guidelines
All study procedures were approved by Institute for Research in Fundamental Sciences (IPM) ethics committee (permit# 99/60/1/6115). All participants had signed their personal consent before completing the questionnaire online. Also, their names were coded numerically.
Authors’ contributions
Taraneh Attary, Ali Ghazizadeh, Narges Radman: Designed the experiment. Narges Radman: Checked the translated questionnaire for Face and Content Validity. Narges Radman and Taraneh Attary: Did the pilot study. Taraneh Attary: Collected and analyzed the data under Narges Radman and Ali Ghazizadeh’s supervision and direction. Ali Ghazizadeh, Narges Radman and Taraneh Attary: Wrote the paper.
This study was funded by an internal grant for the School of Cognitive Science in IPM to Ali Ghazizadeh.
The authors would like to thank the experts of psychology, psychometrics, and psychiatry fields: Fatemeh Hadi, Fatemeh Ghazizadeh-hashemi, Tina Khodadadifar, and Mahsa Ghajarzadeh for their constructive comments in validating the questionnaire. The authors also thank English translators: Kiyana Zhaleh, Behnoosh Mehdizadeh, Nafise Rahimi, and Setareh Doroud.
Conflict of Interests
The authors declare no conflict of interest.
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Type of Study: Research |
Received: 2022/01/29 | Accepted: 2022/05/17 | Published: 2022/08/11

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