The Social Suspiciousness Scale: Development, Validation, and Implications for Understanding Social Anxiety Disorder

  • Andrea Linett
  • Jennifer Monforton
  • Meagan B. MacKenzie
  • Randi E. McCabe
  • Karen Rowa
  • Martin M. AntonyEmail author


The Social Suspiciousness Scale (SSS) is a 24-item self-report questionnaire designed to assess suspiciousness, along with the associated constructs of anger and hostility, within a social context. The present research evaluated the psychometric properties of this newly developed scale. The sample consisted of outpatients with social anxiety disorder (SAD; n = 145), unselected undergraduate university students (n = 162), and healthy community controls (n = 46). A principal components analysis suggested a one-factor solution. Internal consistency of the scale was high, and interitem correlations indicated that items were nonredundant. Test-retest reliability was strong. SSS scores were moderately correlated with measures of social anxiety, paranoia, anger and hostility. Moreover, in the outpatient SAD sample, SSS scores decreased significantly following a 12-week cognitive-behavioral group treatment program for SAD. The SSS may be a useful tool for measuring suspiciousness, anger and hostility across a variety of social contexts, particularly in individuals with SAD. This research contributes more generally to a broader understanding of SAD, and supports the importance of considering the role of mistrust and suspiciousness in this disorder.


Social anxiety disorder Social phobia Suspiciousness Mistrust 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Andrea Linett, Jennifer Monforton, Meagan B. MacKenzie, Randi E. McCabe, Karen Rowa, and Martin M. Antony declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Experiment Participants

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyRyerson UniversityTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Anxiety Treatment and Research Clinic, St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, and Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural NeurosciencesMcMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada

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