Social Phobia Scale (SPS)

The Social Phobia Scale (SPS) is a 20-item self-report measure assessing social phobia in teens (13+) and adults. The scale grounds questions in fear of being scrutinised or observed during routine activities. A typical question in this scale is “I get nervous that people are staring at me as I walk down the street“. This measure is useful in tracking symptoms of social phobia and self consciousness over time.

Validity and Reliability

The SPS has demonstrated discriminant validity, with the scale distinguishing between clinical presentations of anxiety (i.e. social phobia, agoraphobia and simple phobia), and between social phobic and non-clinical (student and community) samples (Mattick & Clarke, 1998). Convergent validity of the SPS is also apparent, as the scale correlates highly with established measures of social anxiety (e.g. FNES and SADS).

The SPS has high internal consistency and high test-retest reliability at 4 and 12 weeks. This measure also responds as expected (i.e. total scores decrease) to treatment of scrutiny fears (Mattick & Clarke, 1998).

Scoring and Interpretation

A raw total score ranging from 0-80 is given as output, with higher scores indicating higher anxiety about being observed or scrutinised. The total raw score is converted into two percentiles, comparing the client to a social phobia sample (n = 243) and an adult community sample (n = 315) (Mattick & Clarke, 1998).

Using percentiles is helpful for interpretation to contextualise scores in comparison to to other people with social phobia and healthy adults. For example, a percentile of 50 compared to the social phobia group represents typical symptom severity for someone who has been independently diagnosed with social phobia. A percentile of 50 in the community sample represents the typical score among the population, and is indicative of a normal (and healthy) level of social fear.

If the scale is administered more than once NovoPsych produces graphs that represent change in symptoms over time.


Mattick, Richard P., & Clarke, J. Christopher. (1998). Development and validation of measures of social phobia scrutiny fear and social interaction anxiety. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 36(4), 455-470. doi: 10.1016/S0005-7967(97)10031-6