A new measure of feeling safe : developing psychometric properties of the neuroception of psychological safety scale (NPSS)

Morton, L. and Cogan, N. and Kolacz, J. and Nikolic, M. and Calderwood, C. and Bacon, T. and Williams, Damien and Pathe, E. and Porges, S.W. (2021) A new measure of feeling safe : developing psychometric properties of the neuroception of psychological safety scale (NPSS). Preprint / Working Paper. Open Science Framework (OSF), Charlottesville, VA.

[thumbnail of Morton-etal-OSF-2021-A-new-measure-of-feeling-safe-developing-psychometric-properties]
Text. Filename: Morton_etal_OSF_2021_A_new_measure_of_feeling_safe_developing_psychometric_properties.pdf
Final Published Version
License: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 logo

Download (800kB)| Preview


Objective: Psychological safety is increasingly recognised as central to mental health, wellbeing and post-traumatic growth. To date, there is no psychometrically supported measure of psychological safety combining psychological, physiological and social components. The current research aimed to develop and establish the neuroception of psychological safety scale (NPSS), informed by Polyvagal Theory. Method: The study comprised of three stages: (1) item generation, (2) item reduction, and (3) assessment of factor structure and internal consistency. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis was conducted from two samples who completed a survey online (exploratory n = 342, confirmatory n = 455). Results: Initially, 107 items were generated. Item reduction and exploratory factor analysis resulted in a 29-item NPSS with subscales of compassion, social engagement and body sensations. The NPSS was found to have a consistent factor structure and internal consistency. Conclusion: The NPSS is a novel measure of psychological safety which can be used across a range of health and social care settings. This research provides a platform for further work to support and enhance understandings of the science of safety through the measurement of psychological, relational and physiological components of safety. The NPSS will help shape new approaches to evaluating trauma treatments, relational issues and mental health concerns. Research to establish the convergent, discriminant and concurrent validity of the NPSS and to explore its use with diverse community and clinical populations is underway.


Morton, L., Cogan, N. ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0861-5133, Kolacz, J., Nikolic, M., Calderwood, C., Bacon, T., Williams, Damien ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2227-9789, Pathe, E. and Porges, S.W.;