Screening for Adolescent Social Anxiety: Psychometric Properties of the Severity Measure for Social Anxiety Disorder


Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is a debilitating disorder that emerges during adolescence and confers a significant burden on interpersonal functioning. Currently available diagnostic interviews are lengthy and generally require clinically-trained experts to administer. Consequently, the identification of clinically valid self-report measures of social anxiety is necessary for streamlining assessment processes and routine outcome monitoring of adolescent social anxiety symptoms. Accordingly, the present study establishes the psychometric properties and predictive utility of the Severity Measure for Social Anxiety Disorder (SMSAD). Participants included 58 adolescents between 12 and 16 years of age who met diagnostic criteria for SAD. In addition to the SMSAD and other self-report measures, clinician and parent reports were obtained. Findings support the reliability and validity of the SMSAD, and highlight the clinical utility of this measure in comparison to previously validated measures of social anxiety. Overall, results indicate that the SMSAD is a valid and reliable measure for assessing and routinely tracking social anxiety symptoms in adolescents.

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Funding was provided by R34 MH096915 from the National Institute of Mental Health. We would like to acknowledge the graduate students, research assistants, and undergraduate students who assisted us with various aspects of this project. We also wish to express appreciation to the adolescents and families who participated in this clinical research.


Funding was provided by R34 MH096915 from the National Institute of Mental Health.

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Correspondence to Corinne N. Carlton.

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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.

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This study received approval from the Virginia Tech’s Institutional Review Board, and all participants provided informed consent to participant in the study.

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

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Carlton, C.N., Garcia, K.M., Richey, J.A. et al. Screening for Adolescent Social Anxiety: Psychometric Properties of the Severity Measure for Social Anxiety Disorder. Child Psychiatry Hum Dev (2021).

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  • Social anxiety
  • Adolescence
  • Severity measure
  • treatment monitoring