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
- 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 sample of Australian children (N = 218) by Spence (1998). The SCAS demonstrated convergent validity with other measures of child anxiety, and discriminant validity with a measure of child depressive symptoms. 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 normative samples reported 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.