Triguna (three qualities) personality model and two-factor conceptualization of self-compassion: a new insight to understand achievement goal orientations
More details
Hide details
Department of Psychology, School of Humanities & Social Sciences, Doctor Harisingh Gour University, Sagar, Madhya Pradesh, India
Department of Psychology, Faculty of Social Sciences, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India
Submission date: 2020-03-22
Final revision date: 2020-09-19
Acceptance date: 2020-09-24
Online publication date: 2020-10-21
Publication date: 2020-10-01
Current Issues in Personality Psychology 2020;8(3):211-228
Although the three-dimensional Vedic personality model (Triguna) and self-compassion have been linked with a variety of life outcomes, little is known about their interplay in shaping goal orientations. We explored the interrelationships and interplay of the Triguna (Sattva, Rajas and Tamas) with positive and negative self-compassion in shaping the goal orientations of Indian students.

Participants and procedure:
Using convenience sampling, 190 males (M = 20.13, SD = 2.21) and 187 females (M = 19.88, SD = 1.81) were assessed on self-report measures. Data were analysed using correlational statistics, factor analysis and path analysis.

Factor analyses supported our speculation that the Self-Compassion Scale is best represented by a two-factor model (positive and negative). Positive self-compassion and Sattva Guna showed positive correlations with mastery and performance goals while negative self-compassion showed an opposite pattern. Rajas and Tamas Gunas were negatively correlated with mastery and positively with performance goals. Gender, Sattva Guna and positive self-compassion accounted for significant variance in mastery while gender, Sattva and Rajas Gunas and negative self-compassion contributed to performance-approach. Sattva Guna and self-compassion (positive and negative) contributed significantly to performance-avoidance. Path analysis revealed direct as well as indirect effects of the three Gunas on the goal orientations through positive and negative self-compassion.

The Triguna personality and two-factor conceptualization of self-compassion evinced their relevance in understanding the goal orientations of Indian students. Re-conceptualization of the Self-Compassion Scale and its interplay with Triguna personality dimensions in shaping the goal orientations of students need further verification in diverse and cross-cultural populations.

Agrawal, J. (2020). Änanda & Sukha: Indian model of happiness & its mental health implications. MindRxiv, preprint.
Akin, A. (2008). Self-compassion and achievement goals: a structural equation modeling approach. Eurasian Journal of Educational Research, 31, 1–15.
Al-Awamleh, A. (2020). The relationship between self-compassion and academic achievement for sport science students. Annals of Applied Sport Science, 8, 1–7.
Alhadabi, A., & Karpinski, A. C. (2020). Grit, self-efficacy, achievement orientation goals, and academic per-formance in university students. International Journal of Adolescence and Youth, 25, 519–535.
Allen, A. B., Goldwasser, E. R., & Leary, M. R. (2012). Self-compassion and well-being among older adults. Self and Identity, 11, 428–453.
Allen, A. B., & Leary, M. R. (2010). Self-compassion, stress, and coping. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 4, 107–118.
Arimitsu, K. (2014). Development and validation of the Japanese version of the Self-Compassion Scale. Shin-rigaku Kenkyu: The Japanese Journal of Psychology, 85, 50–59.
Azizi, A., Mohammadkhani, P., Foroughi, A. A., Lotfi, S., & Bahramkhani, M. (2013). The validity and reliabil-ity of the Iranian version of the Self-Compassion Scale. Practice in Clinical Psychology, 1, 149–155.
Babenko, O., Mosewich, A., Abraham, J., & Lai, H. (2018). Contributions of psychological needs, self-compassion, leisure-time exercise, and achievement goals to academic engagement and exhaustion in Cana-dian medical students. Journal of Educational Evaluation for Health Professions, 15, 2.
Banerjee, R., Pathak, R., & Mathur, G. (2020). Relationship between personality and job performance: Indian perspective of Triguna theory. International Journal of Business Excellence, 20, 122–129.
Barnard, L. K., & Curry, J. F. (2011). Self-compassion: Conceptualizations, correlates, & interventions. Review of General Psychology, 15, 289–303.
Baumeister, R. F., Smart, L., & Boden, J. M. (1996). Relation of threatened egotism to violence and aggression: The dark side of high self-esteem. Psychological Review, 103, 5–33.
Behr, D. (2017). Assessing the use of back translation: The shortcomings of back translation as a quality testing method. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 20, 573–584.
Bernard, T. (1996). Hindu philosophy. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass.
Betal, C. (2015). Role of Trigunas in framing of personality. Indian Streams Research Journal, 5, 1–5.
Bhaktivedanta, A. C. (Ed.). (1994). Bhagavad-gītā as it is: With the original Sanskrit text, Roman translitera-tion, English equivalents, translation and elaborate purports. Alachua, FL: Bhaktivedanta Book Trust.
Blascovich, J., & Tomaka, J. (1991). Measures of self-esteem. In J. P. Robinson & P. R. Shaver (Eds.), Measures of personality and social psychological attitudes (pp. 115–160). Cambridge, MA: Academic Press.
Breines, J. G., & Chen, S. (2012). Self-compassion increases self-improvement motivation. Personality and So-cial Psychology Bulletin, 38, 1133–1143.
Brislin, R. W. (1970). Back-translation for cross-cultural research. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 1, 185–216.
Castilho, P., Pinto-Gouveia, J., & Duarte, J. (2015). Evaluating the multifactor structure of the long and short versions of the self-compassion scale in a clinical sample: Factor analysis of the long and short self-compassion scale. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 71, 856–870.
Cleare, S., Gumley, A., Cleare, C. J., & O’Connor, R. C. (2018). An investigation of the factor structure of the self-compassion scale. Mindfulness, 9, 618–628.
Coopersmith, S. (1967). The antecedents of self-esteem. San Francisco, CA: W. H. Freeman.
Corr, P. J. (2008). The reinforcement sensitivity theory. In P. J. Corr (Ed.), The reinforcement sensitivity theory of personality (pp. 347–376). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Costa, P. T., & McCrae, R. R. (1992). NEO Personality Inventory-Revised (NEO PI-R). Odessa, FL: Psychologi-cal Assessment Resources.
Covington, M. V. (1992). Making the grade: a self-worth perspective on motivation and school reform. Cam-bridge: Cambridge University Press.
Daftuar, C. N., & Sharma, R. (1998). Beyond Maslow: an Indian perspective of need-hierarchy. Journal of the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, 24, 1–8.
Damon, W. (1995). Greater expectations: Overcoming the culture of indulgence in America’s homes and schools. New York: Free Press.
Das, D. G. (1999). The Vedic personality inventory. Durbuy: Bhaktivedanta College.
Dasgupta, S. (1961). A history of Indian philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Datar, S., & Murthy, C. V. (2019). Development of Mysore Triguna scale-short. Journal of Psychosocial Re-search, 14, 311–318.
Dhulla, T. V. (2011). A new approach to Indian philosophy and personality – a study. Indian Journal of Ap-plied Research, 4, 386–387.
Donald, S. (2016). Data screening using SPSS for beginner: Outliers, missing values and normality. Institute of Borneo Studies, UNIMAS. Retrieved from
Dreisoerner, A., Junker, N. M., & van Dick, R. (2020). The relationship among the components of self-compassion: A pilot study using a compassionate writing intervention to enhance self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness. Journal of Happiness Studies.
Elliot, A. J. (1999). Approach and avoidance motivation and achievement goals. Educational Psychologist, 34, 169–189.
Elliot, A. J., & Church, M. A. (1997). A hierarchical model of approach and avoidance achievement motivation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 72, 218–232.
Elliot, A. J., & Harackiewicz, J. M. (1996). Approach and avoidance achievement goals and intrinsic motivation: a mediational analysis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 70, 461–475.
Elliot, A. J., & McGregor, H. A. (2001). A 2 × 2 achievement goal framework. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 80, 501–519.
Flett, G. L., & Hewitt, P. L. (2014). A proposed framework for preventing perfectionism and promoting resilience and mental health among vulnerable children and adolescents. Psychology in the Schools, 51, 899–912.
Garcia-Campayo, J., Navarro-Gil, M., Andrés, E., Montero-Marin, J., López-Artal, L., & Demarzo, M. M. (2014). Validation of the Spanish versions of the long (26 items) and short (12 items) forms of the Self-Compassion Scale (SCS). Health and Quality of Life Outcomes, 12, 4.
Harackiewicz, J. M., Barron, K. E., & Elliot, A. J. (1998). Rethinking achievement goals: When are they adaptive for college students and why? Educational Psychologist, 33, 1–21.
Harackiewicz, J. M., Barron, K. E., Pintrich, P. R., Elliot, A. J., & Thrash, T. M. (2002). Revision of achievement goal theory: Necessary and illuminating. Journal of Educational Psychology, 94, 638–645.
Hewitt, J. P. (2005). The social construction of self-esteem. In C. R. Snyder & S. J. Lopez (Eds.), Handbook of positive psychology (pp. 135–148). New York: Oxford University Press.
Ilavarasu, J. V., Mohan, S., & Hankey, A. (2013). Triguna as personality concept: Guidelines for empirical re-search. International Journal of Yoga – Philosophy, Psychology and Parapsychology, 1, 15.
Judge, T. A., & Ilies, R. (2002). Relationship of personality to performance motivation: a meta-analytic review. Journal of Applied Psychology, 87, 797–807.
Khanna, P., Singh, K., Singla, S., & Verma, V. (2013). Relationship between Triguna theory and well-being indi-cators. International Journal of Yoga – Philosophy, Psychology and Parapsychology, 1, 69–74.
Krishnamurthy, V. S. (1999). Spiritualise to lead a stress-free life. Chennai: T. R. Publications.
Leary, M. R., Tate, E. B., Adams, C. E., Allen, A. B., & Hancock, J. (2007). Self-compassion and reactions to unpleasant self-relevant events: The implications of treating oneself kindly. Journal of Personality and So-cial Psychology, 92, 887–904.
Linnenbrink, E. A., & Pintrich, P. R. (2002). Achievement goal theory and affect: an asymmetrical bidirectional model. Educational Psychologist, 37, 69–78.
Lopez, A., Sanderman, R., Ranchor, A. V., & Schroevers, M. J. (2018). Compassion for others and self-compassion: Levels, correlates, and relationship with psychological well-being. Mindfulness, 9, 325–331.
Lyubomirsky, S., & Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (1995). Effects of self-focused rumination on negative thinking and interpersonal problem solving. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 69, 176–190.
MacBeth, A., & Gumley, A. (2012). Exploring compassion: a meta-analysis of the association between self-compassion and psychopathology. Clinical Psychology Review, 32, 545–552.
McMillan, J. H., Singh, J., & Simonetta, L. G. (1994). The tyranny of self-oriented self-esteem. Educational Ho-rizons, 72, 141–145.
Midgley, C., Kaplan, A., Middleton, M., Maehr, M. L., Urdan, T., Anderman, L. H., Anderman, E., & Roeser, R. (1998). The development and validation of scales assessing students’ achievement goal orientations. Con-temporary Educational Psychology, 23, 113–131.
Montero-Marin, J., Kuyken, W., Crane, C., Gu, J., Baer, R., Al-Awamleh, A. A., Akutsu, S., Araya-Véliz, C., Ghorbani, N., Chen, Z. J., Kim, M. S., Mantzios, M., Rolim dos Santos, D. N., Serramo López, L. C., Teleb, A. A., Watson, P. J., Yamaguchi, A., Yang, E., & García-Campayo, J. (2018). Self-compassion and cultural val-ues: a cross-cultural study of self-compassion using a multitrait-multimethod (MTMM) analytical procedure. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, 2638.
Muris, P., & Otgaar, H. (2020). The process of science: a critical evaluation of more than 15 years of research on self-compassion with the Self-Compassion Scale. Mindfulness, 11, 1469–1482.
Muris, P., Otgaar, H., & Petrocchi, N. (2016). Protection as the mirror image of psychopathology: Further critical notes on the self-compassion scale. Mindfulness, 7, 787–790.
Muris, P., & Petrocchi, N. (2017). Protection or vulnerability? A meta-analysis of the relations between the posi-tive and negative components of self-compassion and psychopathology. Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, 24, 373–383.
Muris, P., van den Broek, M., Otgaar, H., Oudenhoven, I., & Lennartz, J. (2018). Good and bad sides of self-compassion: a face validity check of the Self-Compassion Scale and an investigation of its relations to cop-ing and emotional symptoms in non-clinical adolescents. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 27, 2411–2421.
Neff, K. D. (2003a). Self-compassion: an alternative conceptualization of a healthy attitude toward oneself. Self and Identity, 2, 85–101.
Neff, K. D. (2003b). The development and validation of a scale to measure self-compassion. Self and Identity, 2, 223–250.
Neff, K. D., Bluth, K., Tóth-Király, I., Davidson, O., Knox, M. C., Williamson, Z., & Costigan, A. (2020). Devel-opment and validation of the Self-Compassion Scale for Youth. Journal of Personality Assessment.
Neff, K. D., Hsieh, Y. P., & Dejitterat, K. (2005). Self-compassion, achievement goals, and coping with academic failure. Self and Identity, 4, 263–287.
Neff, K. D., Kirkpatrick, K. L., & Rude, S. S. (2007a). Self-compassion and adaptive psychological functioning. Journal of Research in Personality, 41, 139–154.
Neff, K. D., & Pommier, E. (2013). The relationship between self-compassion and other-focused concern among college undergraduates, community adults, and practicing meditators. Self and Identity, 12, 160–176.
Neff, K. D., Rude, S. S., & Kirkpatrick, K. L. (2007b). An examination of self-compassion in relation to positive psychological functioning and personality traits. Journal of Research in Personality, 41, 908–916.
Neff, K. D., Whittaker, T. A., & Karl, A. (2017). Examining the factor structure of the self-compassion scale in four distinct populations: Is the use of a total scale score justified? Journal of Personality Assessment, 99, 596–607.
Pandey, R., Tiwari, G. K., Pandey, R., Mandal, S. P., Mudgal, S., Parihar, P., Rai, P. K., Tiwari, A. S., & Shukla, M. (2020). The relationship between self-esteem and self-forgiveness: Understanding the mediating role of posi-tive and negative self-compassion. Authorea, preprint.
Pandey, R., Tiwari, G. K., Parihar, P., & Rai, P. K. (2019). Positive, not negative, self‐compassion mediates the relationship between self‐esteem and well‐being. Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice.
Parry, E. (2017). Self-compassion and the pursuit of personal goals. Retrieved from
Pfattheicher, S., Geiger, M., Hartung, J., Weiss, S., & Schindler, S. (2017). Old wine in new bottles? The case of self-compassion and neuroticism: Self-compassion and neuroticism. European Journal of Personality, 31, 160–169.
Planet Ayurveda (2020). Triguna theory of Ayurveda. Retrieved from
Potter, K. H. (Ed.). (1970). The encyclopedia of Indian philosophies. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass.
Puta, M., & Sedlmeier, P. (2014). The concept of Tri-Guna: a working model. In S. Schmidt & H. Walach (Eds.), Meditation – neuroscientific approaches and philosophical implications (Vol. 2, pp. 317–364). Cham: Springer.
Pyszczynski, T., Greenberg, J., Solomon, S., Arndt, J., & Schimel, J. (2004). Why do people need self-esteem? A theoretical and empirical review. Psychological Bulletin, 130, 435–468.
Rai, P. K., & Tiwari, G. K. (2019). Self-compassion and positive mental health. In S. Ojha, M. Asthana, & U. Ojha, Spirituality & health: Emerging issues (pp. 175–201). Delhi: Shree Publishers & Distributors.
Revelle, W. (1995). Personality processes. Annual Review of Psychology, 46, 295–328.
Roeser, R. W., Midgley, C., & Urdan, T. C. (1996). Perceptions of the school psychological environment and early adolescents’ psychological and behavioral functioning in school: The mediating role of goals and be-longing. Journal of Educational Psychology, 88, 408–422.
Rosenberg, M. (1965). Society and the adolescent self-image. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Rosenberg, M. (2016). Society and the adolescent self-image. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Rubin, K. H., & Coplan, R. J. (2004). Paying attention to and not neglecting social withdrawal and social isola-tion. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 50, 506–534.
Ryan, A. M., Pintrich, P. R., & Midgley, C. (2001). Avoiding seeking help in the classroom: Who and why? Edu-cational Psychology Review, 13, 93–114.
Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Intrinsic and extrinsic motivations: Classic definitions and new directions. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 25, 54–67.
Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2004). Avoiding death or engaging life as accounts of meaning and culture: Com-ment on Pyszczynski et al. (2004). Psychological Bulletin, 130, 473–477.
Seligman, M. E. P., Reivich, K., Jaycox, L., & Gillham, J. (1996). The optimistic child. New York: Harper Peren-nial.
Sharma, M. P., Salvi, D., & Sharma, M. K. (2012). Sattva, Rajas and Tamas factors and quality of life in pa-tients with anxiety disorders: a preliminary investigation. Psychological Studies, 57, 388–391.
Shilpa, S., & Venkatesha Murthy, C. G. (2011). Understanding personality from Ayurvedic perspective for psy-chological assessment: a case. AYU – An International Quarterly Journal of Research in Ayurveda, 32, 12–19.
Shilpa, S., & Venkatesha Murthy, C. G. (2012). Development and standardization of Mysore Triguna scale. SAGE Open, 2, 1–10.
Shimizu, M., Niiya, Y., & Shigemasu, E. (2016). Achievement goals and improvement following failure: Moder-ating roles of self-compassion and contingency of self-worth. Self and Identity, 15, 107–115.
Singh, K., Jain, A., Kaur, J., Junnarkar, M., & Slezackova, A. (2016). Cross-cultural differences on Gunas and other well-being dimensions. Asian Journal of Psychiatry, 24, 139–146.
Singh, K., & Slezáčková, A. (2013). Relationship between Gunas and mental health, flourishing, positive and negative experience: an Indian and Western perspective. Retrieved from
Sirois, F. M. (2020). The association between self-compassion and self-rated health in 26 samples. BMC Public Health, 20, 74.
Sirois, F. M., Molnar, D. S., & Hirsch, J. K. (2015). Self-compassion, stress, and coping in the context of chronic illness. Self and Identity, 14, 334–347.
Sitamma, M., Sridevi, K., & Krishna Rao, P. V. (1995). Three Gunas and cognitive characteristics: a study of field dependence-independence and perceptual acuity. Journal of Indian Psychology, 13, 13–20.
Srivastava, K. (2012). Concept of personality: Indian perspective. Industrial Psychiatry Journal, 21, 89–93.
Ståhlberg, J., Tuominen, H., Pulkka, A. T., & Niemivirta, M. (2019). Maintaining the self? Exploring the connec-tions between students’ perfectionistic profiles, self-worth contingency, and achievement goal orientations. Personality and Individual Differences, 151, 109495.
Suprayogi, M. N., Ratriana, L., & Wulandari, A. P. J. (2019). The interplay of academic efficacy and goal orien-tation toward academic achievement. Journal of Physics: Conference Series, 1175, 012132.
Ten Cate, O. Th. J., Kusurkar, R. A., & Williams, G. C. (2011). How self-determination theory can assist our un-derstanding of the teaching and learning processes in medical education. Medical Teacher, 33, 961–973.
Thurackal, J. T., Corveleyn, J., & Dezutter, J. (2016). Personality and self-compassion: Exploring their relation-ship in an Indian context. European Journal of Mental Health, 11, 18–35.
Tiwari, G. K., Pandey, R., Rai, P. K., Pandey, R., Verma, Y., Parihar, P., Ahirwar, G., Tiwari, A. S., & Mandal, S. P. (2020). Self-compassion as an intrapersonal resource of perceived positive mental health outcomes: a thematic analysis. Mental Health, Religion & Culture.
Tóth-Király, I., & Neff, K. D. (2020). Is self-compassion universal? Support for the measurement invariance of the self-compassion scale across populations. Assessment.
Verma, Y., & Tiwari, G. K. (2017). Self-compassion as the predictor of flourishing of the students. The Interna-tional Journal of Indian Psychology, 4, 10–29.
Werner, K. H., Jazaieri, H., Goldin, P. R., Ziv, M., Heimberg, R. G., & Gross, J. J. (2012). Self-compassion and social anxiety disorder. Anxiety, Stress, and Coping, 25, 543–558.
Williams, J. G., Stark, S. K., & Foster, E. E. (2008). The relationships among self-compassion, motivation, and procrastination. American Journal of Psychological Research, 4, 37–44.
Wolf, D. B. (1998). The Vedic personality inventory: a study of the Gunas. Journal of Indian Psychology, 16, 26–43.
Zhang, J. W., & Chen, S. (2016). Self-compassion promotes personal improvement from regret experiences via acceptance. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 42, 244–258.
Zuroff, D. C., Igreja, I., & Mongrain, M. (1990). Dysfunctional attitudes, dependency, and self-criticism as pre-dictors of depressive mood states: a 12-month longitudinal study. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 14, 315–326.
Copyright: © Institute of Psychology, University of Gdansk This is an Open Access journal, all articles are distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) License (, allowing third parties to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format and to remix, transform, and build upon the material, provided the original work is properly cited and states its license.
Journals System - logo
Scroll to top