Spence Children’s Anxiety Scale – Child (SCAS-Child)

The Spence Children’s Anxiety Scale – Child is a 45-item self-report scale used to assess severity of anxiety symptoms in children aged 8-15 years. The SCAS-Child assesses six domains of anxiety which constitute six subscales:

  • Separation Anxiety
  • Social Phobia
  • Obsessive Compulsive Problems
  • Panic/Agoraphobia
  • Generalised Anxiety/Overanxious Symptoms
  • Fears of Physical Injury

The SCAS-Child can be used as part of a broader diagnostic assessment, but should not be used as the sole means for diagnosis. The scale can be used in clinical and non-clinical settings to evaluate the impact of anxiety interventions over time.

There is also a parent reported version (SCAS-Parent) of the same assessment. Administering the child and parent reported version and comparing results can be helpful to inform a formulation.

Validity and Reliability

The SCAS Child Version has been validated in a large sample of Australian children (N = 4,916) by Spence (n.d.). The SCAS demonstrated convergent validity with other measures of child anxiety, and discriminant validity with a measure of child depressive symptoms (Spence et al., 2003). The same study also showed significantly higher SCAS scores on all six subscales among clinically anxious children than those in a non-clinical control group.

For comprehensive information visit the Spence Children’s Anxiety Scale website at: www.scaswebsite.com

Scoring and Interpretation

Scores consist of a total raw score (range from 0 to 114) and six sub-scale scores, with higher scores indicating greater severity of anxiety symptoms. These scores are also converted into percentiles based on age and gender from a large normative sample (N = 4,916) reported by Spence (n.d.) and accessible on www.scaswebsite.com. A percentile score more than 84 for any subscale score or the total SCAS score indicates clinically significant anxiety symptoms.

Sub-scales are computed by summing the following items:

  • Separation anxiety (items 5, 8, 12, 15, 16, 44)
  • Social phobia (items 6, 7, 9, 10, 29, 35)
  • Obsessive compulsive (items 14, 19, 27, 40, 41, 42)
  • Panic/agoraphobia (items 13, 21, 28, 30, 32, 34, 36, 37, 39)
  • Physical Injury (items 2, 18, 23, 25, 33)
  • Generalised anxiety (items 1, 3, 4, 20, 22, 24)

Items that are not scored in either the total score or the sub-scale scores are:
11, 17, 26, 31, 38, 43, 45 and 46. They are not scored because they did not meet sufficient psychometric requirements.

If the scale is administered on multiple occasions a graph is produced to track symptoms over time, representing  the respondents scores as a normative percentile.  


Spence, S.H. (1997). Structure of anxiety symptoms among children: A confirmatory factor-analytic study. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 106(2), 280-297.


Spence, S.H. (1998). A measure of anxiety symptoms among children. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 36 (5), 545-566.

Spence, S.H., Barrett, P.M., & Turner, C.M. (2003). Psychometric properties of the Spence Children’s Anxiety Scale with young adolescents. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 17(6), 605-625.

Spence, S.H. (n.d.). Normative sample. Accessed from: https://www.scaswebsite.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/normativesample.pdf