Preliminary development and validation of a scale to measure universal love

Natalie L. Trent, Mario Beauregard, Gary E. Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The purpose of this research was to define the construct of universal love and to develop and validate the Universal Love Scale (ULS), the first tool to measure universal love. We define universal love as an experience of unity with others and the whole of existence, which is associated with behavioral, cognitive, emotional, and transcendental factors. The factor structure, validity, and reliability of the ULS were assessed across 2 studies with undergraduate students (N = 200 and N = 220). With respect to convergent validity, universal love was positively correlated with compassionate love for humanity, self-compassion, spiritual experiences, forgiveness, empathy, and altruism, and negatively correlated with narcissism. Discriminant validity was demonstrated through no correlation between universal love and ethnicity or social desirability. With respect to criterion validity, universal love was positively correlated with universal spiritual beliefs and experiences and psychological well-being, including life meaning, satisfaction with life, and positive affect, and negatively correlated with negative affect and aggression. Further, the ULS demonstrated internal consistency reliability. These results indicate that the ULS is a valid and reliable scale to measure universal love. Further research validating the ULS in a general sample population and populations theorized to be low or high in universal love is encouraged.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-64
Number of pages14
JournalSpirituality in Clinical Practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2020


  • Compassion
  • Love
  • Scale validation
  • Spirituality
  • Universal love

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and Manual Therapy
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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