Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 28, Issue 12, pp 3360–3373 | Cite as

Multi-Informant Assessments of Individual Differences in Adolescents’ Socio-Evaluative Fears: Clinical Correlates and Links to Arousal within Social Interactions

  • Sebastian Szollos
  • Lauren M. Keeley
  • Bridget A. Makol
  • Justin W. Weeks
  • Sarah J. Racz
  • Melanie F. Lipton
  • Tara M. Augenstein
  • Alexis M. Beale
  • Andres De Los ReyesEmail author
Invited Paper



Socially anxious adolescents often display fears of negative evaluation (FNE) and fears of positive evaluation (FPE). The Bivalent Fear of Evaluation model posits that FNE and FPE represent two poles of socio-evaluative fears, and that individuals may simultaneously display high levels of FNE and FPE (high FNE/FPE). To what degree do adolescents who display high FNE/FPE differ in psychosocial functioning from adolescents who display high concerns on one domain and not the other (either high FNE/low FPE, or low FNE/high FPE), or low concerns on both domains (i.e., low FNE/FPE)? We tested this broader question (a) across multiple psychosocial domains, (b) using multiple informants’ reports to identify adolescents’ patterns of socio-evaluative fears, and (c) in relation to adolescents’ reactions to anxiety-provoking social situations with unfamiliar peers.


One-hundred twenty-seven 14–15-year-old adolescents and their parents completed measures of adolescents’ FNE, FPE, and domains of psychosocial functioning (i.e., social anxiety, safety behaviors, depressive symptoms, psychosocial impairments). Adolescents participated in several social interaction tasks with unfamiliar peers. Adolescents self-reported on their arousal during these tasks and the unfamiliar peers with whom they interacted completed measures of social anxiety about the adolescent.


High FNE/FPE adolescents tended to display poorer psychosocial functioning relative to adolescents who displayed other patterns of socio-evaluative fears. Based on adolescent-classified groups, high FNE/FPE adolescents displayed greater self-reported arousal during social interactions, relative to the other groups.


Identifying adolescents’ patterns of socio-evaluative fears may inform interpretations of the individual differences among adolescents’ clinical presentations of social anxiety.


Adolescents Assessment Fear of negative evaluation Fear of positive evaluation Social anxiety 



The second, third, and anchor authors’ work on this paper was supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, through Grant R324A180032 to University of Maryland at College Park. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent views of the Institute or the U.S. Department of Education.

Author Contributions

First author: collaborated in writing the paper and assisted in executing the study. Second, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth authors: assisted in executing the study and collaborated in editing the paper. Third author: assisted in executing the study, assisted with data analyses and collaborated in editing the paper. Fourth author: collaborated in editing the paper. Anchor author: designed the study, assisted in executing the study, assisted with data analyses, and collaborated in writing the paper.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the University of Maryland at College Park’s Institutional Review Board and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


  1. Abbott, M. J., & Rapee, R. M. (2004). Post-event rumination and negative self-appraisal in social phobia before and after treatment. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 113, 136–144. Scholar
  2. Achenbach, T. M. (2017). Future directions for clinical research, services, and training: evidence-based assessment across informants, cultures, and dimensional hierarchies. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 46, 159–169. Scholar
  3. Alfano, C. A., & Beidel, D. C. 2011). Social anxiety in adolescents and young adults: translating developmental science into practice. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. 10.1037/12315-000.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. American Psychiatric Association (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). 5th edn. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Beale, A., Keeley, L. M., Okuno, H., Szollos, S., Rausch, E., Makol, B. A., & De Los Reyes, A. (2018). Efficient screening for impairments in peer functioning among mid-to-late adolescents receiving clinical assessments for social anxiety. Child and Youth CareForum, 47, 613–631. Scholar
  6. Beck, A. T., Steer, R. A., & Brown, G. K. (1996). Beck depression inventory—second edition manual. San Antonio, TX: The Psychological Corporation.Google Scholar
  7. Beidel, D. C., Rao, P. A., Scharfstein, L., Wong, N., & Alfano, C. A. (2010). Social skills and social phobia: an investigation of DSM-IV subtypes. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 48, 992–1001. Scholar
  8. Beidel, D. C., Turner, S. M., & Morris, T. L. (1995). A new inventory to assess childhood social anxiety and phobia: the social phobia and anxiety inventory for children. Psychological Assessment, 7, 73–79. Scholar
  9. Bögels, S. M., Alden, L., Beidel, D. C., Clark, L. A., Pine, D. S., Stein, M. B., & Voncken, M. (2010). Social anxiety disorder: questions and answers for the DSM-V. Depression and Anxiety, 27, 168–189. Scholar
  10. Clark, D. M., & Wells, A. (1995). A cognitive model of social phobia. In R. G. Heimberg, M. Liebowitz, D. A. Hope & F. R. Schneier (Eds.), Social phobia: diagnosis, assessment, and treatment (pp. 69–93). New York, NY: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  11. Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences. 2nd edn. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  12. Cohen, J., Cohen, P., West, S. G., & Aiken, L. S. (2003). Applied multiple regression/correlation analysis for the behavioral sciences. 3rd edn. Mahwah, NJ, US: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.Google Scholar
  13. Cuming, S., Rapee, R. M., Kemp, N., Abbott, M. J., Peters, L., & Gaston, J. E. (2009). A self- report measure of subtle avoidance and safety behaviors relevant to social anxiety: development and psychometric properties. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 23, 879–883. Scholar
  14. De Los Reyes, A., Lerner, M.D., Keeley, L.M., Weber, R., Drabick, D.A.G., Rabinowitz, J., & Goodman, K.L. (2019a). Improving interpretability of subjective assessments about psychological phenomena: a review and cross-cultural meta-analysis. Review of General Psychology.
  15. De Los Reyes, A., Cook, C. R., Gresham, F. M., Makol, B. A., & Wang, M. (2019b). Informant discrepancies in assessments of psychosocial functioning in school-based services and research: Review and directions for future research. Journal of School Psychology, 74, 74–89. Scholar
  16. De Los Reyes, A., Makol, B. A., Racz, S. J., Youngstrom, E. A., Lerner, M. D., & Keeley, L. M. (2019c). The work and social adjustment scale for youth: a measure for assessing youth psychosocial impairment regardless of mental health status. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 28, 1–16. Scholar
  17. De Los Reyes, A., Aldao, A., Qasmieh, N., Dunn, E. J., Lipton, M. F., Hartman, C., & Lerner, M. D. (2017). Graphical representations of adolescents’ psychophysiological reactivity to social stressor tasks: reliability and validity of the Chernoff face approach and person-centered profiles for clinical use. Psychological Assessment, 29, 422–434. Scholar
  18. De Los Reyes, A., Aldao, A., Thomas, S. A., Daruwala, S. E., Swan, A. J., Van Wie, M., & Lechner, W. V. (2012). Adolescent self-reports of social anxiety: can they disagree with objective psychophysiological measures and still be valid? Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 34, 308–322. Scholar
  19. De Los Reyes, A., Augenstein, T. M., Wang, M., Thomas, S. A., Drabick, D. A. G., Burgers, D., & Rabinowitz, J. (2015a). The validity of the multi-informant approach to assessing child and adolescent mental health. Psychological Bulletin, 141, 858–900. Scholar
  20. De Los Reyes, A., Augenstein, T. M., Aldao, A., Thomas, S. A., Daruwala, S. E., Kline, K., & Regan, T. (2015b). Implementing psychophysiology in clinical assessments of adolescent social anxiety: Use of rater judgments based on graphical representations of psychophysiology. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 44, 264–279. Scholar
  21. De Los Reyes, A., & Ohannessian, C. M. (2016). Introduction to the special issue: discrepancies in adolescent–parent perceptions of the family and adolescent adjustment. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 45, 1957–1972. Scholar
  22. De Los Reyes, A., Thomas, S. A., Goodman, K. L., & Kundey, S. A. (2013). Principles underlying the use of multiple informants’ reports. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 9, 123–149. Scholar
  23. Deros, D. E., Racz, S. J., Lipton, M. F., Augenstein, T. M., Karp, J. N., Keeley, L. M., & De Los Reyes, A. (2018). Multi-informant assessments of adolescent social anxiety: adding clarity by leveraging reports from unfamiliar peer confederates. Behavior Therapy, 49, 84–98. Scholar
  24. Epkins, C. C., & Heckler, D. R. (2011). Integrating etiological models of social anxiety and depression in youth: evidence for a cumulative interpersonal risk model. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 14, 329–376. Scholar
  25. Gilbert, P.(2001). Evolution and social anxiety: the role of attraction, social competition, and social hierarchies. Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 24, 723–751. Scholar
  26. Gilbert, P. (2014). Evolutionary models: practical and conceptual utility for the treatment and study of social anxiety disorder. In J. W. Weeks (Ed.), The Wiley-Blackwell handbook of social anxiety disorder. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.Google Scholar
  27. Glenn, L. E., Keeley, L. M., Szollos, S., Okuno, H., Wang, X., Rausch, E., & De Los Reyes, A. (2019). Trained observers’ ratings of adolescents’ social anxiety and social skills within controlled, cross-contextual social interactions with unfamiliar peer confederates. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 41, 1–15. Scholar
  28. Hanley, J. A., Negassa, A., Edwardes, M. D., & Forrester, J. E. (2003). Statistical analysis of correlated data using generalized estimating equations: an orientation. American Journal of Epidemiology, 157, 364–375. Scholar
  29. Heimberg, R. G., Brozovich, F. A., & Rapee, R. M. (2010). A cognitive-behavioral model of social anxiety disorder: Update and extension. Social Anxiety: Clinical, Developmental, and Social Perspectives, 2, 395–422. Scholar
  30. Insel, T., Cuthbert, B., Garvey, M., Heinssen, R., Pine, D. S., Quinn, K., & Wang, P. (2010). Research domain criteria (RDoC): toward a new classification framework for research on mental disorders. American Journal of Psychiatry, 167, 748–751. Scholar
  31. Karp, J., Makol, B. A., Keeley, L. M., Qasmieh, N., Deros, D. E., Racz, S. J., & De Los Reyes, A. (2018). Convergent, incremental, and criterion-related validity of multi-informant assessments of adolescents’ fears of negative and positive evaluation. Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, 25, 217–230. Scholar
  32. Keeley, L. M., Makol, B. A., Qasmieh, N., Deros, D. E., Karp, J. N., Lipton, M. F., & De Los Reyes, A. (2018). Validity of adolescent and parent reports on the Six-Item ADHD Self-Report Scale (ASRS-6) in clinical assessments of adolescent social anxiety. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 27, 1041–1053. Scholar
  33. Kessler, R. C., Berglund, P., Demler, O., Jin, R., Merikangas, K. R., & Walters, E. E. (2005). Lifetime prevalence and age-of-onset distributions of DSM-IV disorders in the national comorbidity survey replication. Archives of General Psychiatry, 62, 593–602. Scholar
  34. Lang, P. J. (1980). Behavioral treatment and bio-behavioral assessment: computer applications. In J. B. Sidowski, J. H. Johnson & T. A. Williams (Eds.), Technology in mental health care delivery systems (pp. 119–137). Norwood, NJ: Ablex.Google Scholar
  35. Leary, M. R. (1983). A brief version of the fear of negative evaluation scale. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 9, 371–375. Scholar
  36. Lipton, M. F., Augenstein, T. M., Weeks, J. W., & De Los Reyes, A. (2014). A multi-informant approach to assessing fear of positive evaluation in socially anxious adolescents. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 23, 1247–1257. Scholar
  37. Lipton, M. F., Weeks, J. W., & De Los Reyes, A. (2016). Individual differences in fears of negative versus positive evaluation: frequencies and clinical correlates. Personality & Individual Differences, 98, 193–198. Scholar
  38. Markon, K. E., Chmielewski, M., & Miller, C. J. (2011). The reliability and validity of discrete and continuous measures of psychopathology: a quantitative review. Psychological Bulletin, 137, 856–879. Scholar
  39. Mattick, R. P., & Clarke, J. C. (1998). Development and validation of measures of social phobia scrutiny fear and social interaction anxiety. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 36, 455–470. Scholar
  40. Mundt, J. C., Marks, I. M., Shear, M. K., & Greist, J. M. (2002). The work and social adjustment scale: a simple measure of impairment in functioning. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 180, 461–464. Scholar
  41. Norton, A. R., & Abbott, M. J. (2016). Self-focused cognition in social anxiety: a review of the theoretical and empirical literature. Behaviour Change, 33, 44–64. Scholar
  42. Qasmieh, N., Makol, B. A., Augenstein, T. M., Lipton, M. F., Deros, D. E., Karp, J., & De Los Reyes, A. (2018). A multi-informant approach to assessing safety behaviors among adolescents: psychometric properties of the subtle avoidance frequency examination. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 27, 1830–1843. Scholar
  43. Rapee, R. M., & Heimberg, R. G. (1997). A cognitive-behavioral model of anxiety in social phobia. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 35, 741–756. Scholar
  44. Rausch, E., Racz, S. J., Augenstein, T. M., Keeley, L., Lipton, M. F., Szollos, S., & De Los Reyes, A. (2017). A multi-informant approach to measuring depressive symptoms in clinical assessments of adolescent social anxiety using the beck depression inventory-ii: Convergent, incremental, and criterion-related validity. Child and Youth Care Forum, 46, 661–683. Scholar
  45. Silverman, W. K., & Ollendick, T. H. (2005). Evidence-based assessment of anxiety and its disorders in children and adolescents. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 34, 380–411. Scholar
  46. Thomas, S. A., Weeks, J. W., Dougherty, L. R., Lipton, M. F., Daruwala, S. E., Kline, K., & De Los Reyes, A. (2015). Allelic variation of risk for anxiety symptoms moderates the relation between adolescent safety behaviors and social anxiety symptoms. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 37, 597–610. Scholar
  47. Thomas, S. A., Daruwala, S. E., Goepel, K. A., & De Los Reyes, A. (2012). Using the subtle avoidance frequency examination in adolescent social anxiety assessments. Child & Youth Care Forum, 41, 547–559. Scholar
  48. U.S. Census Bureau. (2016). State and county quickfacts. Washington, DC: U.S. Census Bureau.
  49. VanVoorhis, C. R. W., & Blumentritt, T. L. (2007). Psychometric properties of the beck depression inventory-II in a clinically-identified sample of Mexican American adolescents. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 16, 789–798. Scholar
  50. Weeks, J. W., Heimberg, R. G., & Rodebaugh, T. L. (2008a). The fear of positive evaluation scale: assessing a proposed cognitive component of social anxiety. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 22, 44–55. Scholar
  51. Weeks, J. W., Heimberg, R. G., Rodebaugh, T. L., & Norton, P. J. (2008b). Exploring the relationship between fear of positive evaluation and social anxiety. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 22, 386–400. Scholar
  52. Weeks, J. W., & Howell, A. N. (2012). The bivalent fear of evaluation model of social anxiety:Further integrating findings on fears of positive and negative evaluation. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, 41, 83–95. Scholar
  53. Weeks, J. W., Jakatdar, T. A., & Heimberg, R. G. (2010). Comparing and contrasting fears of positive and negative evaluation as facets of social anxiety. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 29, 68–94. Scholar
  54. Weeks, J. W., Norton, P. J., & Heimberg, R. G. (2009). Exploring the latent structure of two cognitive components of social anxiety: taxometric analyses of fears of negative and positive evaluation. Depression and Anxiety, 26, E40–E48. Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sebastian Szollos
    • 1
  • Lauren M. Keeley
    • 1
  • Bridget A. Makol
    • 1
  • Justin W. Weeks
    • 1
    • 2
  • Sarah J. Racz
    • 1
  • Melanie F. Lipton
    • 1
  • Tara M. Augenstein
    • 1
  • Alexis M. Beale
    • 1
  • Andres De Los Reyes
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Comprehensive Assessment and Intervention ProgramUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychology, Department of Psychiatry, Nebraska MedicineUniversity of Nebraska Medical CenterOmahaUSA

Personalised recommendations