Systematic assessment of social phobia in clinical practice

Duncan B. Clark, Ulrike Feske, Carrie L. Masia, Scott A. Spaulding, Charlotte Brown, Oommen Mammen, M. Katherine Shear

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


The purpose of this review is to propose a systematic approach to the assessment of social phobia for monitoring treatment outcome in clinical settings. A selection of measures is available, including questionnaires and structured interviews varying in length, complexity, and content. To design an assessment protocol for a particular patient or patient population, the clinician needs to be familiar with the characteristics of these available measures. The measures selected for detailed description and discussion here: (a) are specifically designed to assess social anxiety and social phobia, (b) have been demonstrated to have acceptable psychometric characteristics, and (c) have been utilized in treatment outcome research. Five questionnaire measures will be reviewed: (I) the Social Phobia and Anxiety Inventory (SPAI) (Turner et al., 1989a: Psychol Assessment 1:35-40), (2) the Social Interaction and Anxiety Scale (SIAS) (Mattick and Clarke, 1989 in Heimberg et al., 1992), (3) the Social Phobia Scale (SPS) (Mattick and Clarke, 1989 in Heimberg et al., 1992: Behav Therapy 23:53-73), (4) the Fear of Negative Evaluation Scale (FNES) (Watson and Friend, 1969: J Consult Clin Psychol 33:448-457), and (5) The Social Anxiety and Distress Scale (SADS) (Watson and Friend, 1969: J Consult Clin Psychol 33:448-457). Two interview measures will be reviewed, the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale (LSAS) (Liebowitz, 1987: Modern Problems Pharmacopsych 22:141-173) and Brief Social Phobia Scale (BSPS) (Davidson et al., 1991: J Clin Psychiatry 52:48-51). Measures developed for specific subgroups, including patients with speech anxiety and musical performance anxiety, as well as the application of other evaluation methods, such as the Behavioral Assessment Test, will also be discussed. Guidelines for selecting appropriate social phobia measures for varying clinical and research situations will be proposed that take into consideration the strengths and weaknesses of these methods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-61
Number of pages15
JournalDepression and Anxiety
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1997


  • Anxiety disorders
  • Assessment
  • Social phobia


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