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

The Spence Children’s Anxiety Scale – Parent is completed by a parent of a child between the ages of 7 to 13. The SCAS-Parent provides an overall measure of anxiety together with scores on six sub-scales each tapping a specific aspect of child anxiety.

  • Panic attack and agoraphobia
  • Separation anxiety
  • Physical injury fears
  • Social phobia
  • Obsessive compulsive
  • Generalized anxiety disorder / overanxious disorder

There is also a self-report version (SCAS-Child) of the same assessment. Administering the child and parent reported version and comparing results can be helpful to inform a formulation, particularly when there is a large disparity between scores.

Validity and Reliability

The scales was validated by Nauta, Scholing, Rapee, Abbott, Spence and Waters (2004) with 484 parents of anxiety disordered children and 261 parents in a normal control group. Results of confirmatory factor analysis provided support for six intercorrelated factors, that corresponded with the child self-report as well as with the classification of anxiety disorders by DSM-IV.

Compared to the child version of the same test, parent–child agreement ranged from 0.41 to 0.66 in the anxiety-disordered group, and from 0.23 to 0.60 in the control group.

Norms were calculated using community samples from Australia, the Netherlands, the USA, and the UK (Brow-Jacobsen et al, 2011; Cresswell et al., n.d.; Nauta et al., 2004; Whiteside et al, 2012).

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 (between 0 and 114) and six subscale scores. 

  • Panic attack and agoraphobia (items 12,19,25,27,28,30,32,33,34)
  • Separation anxiety (items 5,8,11,14,15,38)
  • Physical injury fears (items 2,16,21,23,29)
  • Social phobia (items 6,7,9,10,26,31)
  • Obsessive compulsive (items 13,17,24,35,36,37)
  • Generalized anxiety disorder (items 1,3,4,18,20,22)

Results are also converted to percentile ranks based on an Anxiety Disordered Children sample and a Normal Population Children sample, based on the child’s gender and age (Nauta et al., 2004). Percentiles are helpful for interpretation as they contextualise the respondent’s scores in comparison to typical responses from normative groups. A percentile of 50 compared to the anxiety disordered children represents a typical (and clinically significant) pattern of responding among children who have been independently diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.

Any scores more than the 84th percentile (1 standard deviation from the normal population mean) are considered to be clinically significant.

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.


Nauta, Scholing, Rapee, Abbott, Spence and Waters. (2004). A parent report measure of children’s anxiety. Behaviour Research and Therapy. 42 (7), 813-839.


Brown-Jacobsen, A. M., Wallace, D. P., & Whiteside, S. P. H. (2011). Multimethod, Multi-informant Agreement, and Positive Predictive Value in the Identification of Child Anxiety Disorders Using the SCAS and ADIS-C. Assessment, 18(3), 382-392.

Cresswell, C,. et al. (n.d.) Using the Parent SCAS t-scores. Accessed at https://www.scaswebsite.com/portfolio/scas-parent-t-scores/

Nauta, Scholing, Rapee, Abbott, Spence and Waters. (2004). A parent report measure of children’s anxiety. Behaviour Research and Therapy. 42 (7), 813-839.

Whiteside, S. P. H., Gryczkowski, M. R., Biggs, B. K., Fagen, R., & Owusu, D. (2012). Validation of the Spence Children’s Anxiety Scale’s obsessive compulsive subscale in a clinical and community sample. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 26(1), 111.