Important questions remain about the clinical and research utility of the Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) scale, particularly related to gender. Thus, a cluster analysis was conducted with 414 university undergraduates, using the HSP scale, the 7-item Generalized Anxiety Disorder scale, and the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale Revised, resulting in parsimonious four-cluster models: four clusters of women and four clusters of men. Three of the four cluster types were consistent across both men and women: non-distressed medium sensitivity (low anxiety and depression, mid-range HSP), non-distressed low sensitivity (low anxiety and depression, low HSP), and distressed high sensitivity (moderate/high anxiety and depression, high HSP). Differences were found in the fourth type. A cluster of women were non-distressed and highly sensitive (low anxiety and depression, high HSP), while the fourth type of men were distressed medium sensitivity (moderate/high anxiety and depression, mid-range HSP). Scores on the HSP scale total (α = .88) indicated adequate internal consistency and external (divergent) validity, with medium effect sizes related to social desirability bias. Internal structural validity indicated a poor fit of the data to previously proposed one- to three-dimensional models. Counseling practice and research implications are discussed.

You do not currently have access to this content.