Screening for social anxiety disorder in the clinical setting: using the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale

J Anxiety Disord. 2002;16(6):661-73. doi: 10.1016/s0887-6185(02)00134-2.


Objective: We sought to determine optimal cutoff values for the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale (LSAS) total and subscale scores for the diagnosis of social anxiety disorder (SAD) and designation of the generalized subtype of SAD.

Method: Three hundred and sixty-four patients from a multi-site sample who met criteria for SAD according to structured diagnostic interview, 262 of whom met criteria for the generalized subtype, and 34 control participants free of current Axis I disorders participated in this study. All participants were given the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale by an independent assessor.

Results: Receiver Operating Characteristics analysis revealed that the LSAS performed well in identifying individuals who met criteria for SAD and for the generalized subtype of SAD. Cutoffs of 30 for SAD and 60 for its generalized subtype on the LSAS total score represented the best balance of specificity and sensitivity.

Conclusions: These findings provide support for the use of the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale for the identification of individuals with SAD and its generalized subtype in clinical settings. Identification of patients with SAD should increase the percentage of these patients who receive appropriate treatment for this impairing disorder.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anxiety Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening*
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • ROC Curve
  • Sensitivity and Specificity