A parent-report measure of children's anxiety: psychometric properties and comparison with child-report in a clinic and normal sample

Behav Res Ther. 2004 Jul;42(7):813-39. doi: 10.1016/S0005-7967(03)00200-6.


This study examined the psychometric properties of the parent version of the Spence Children's Anxiety Scale (SCAS-P); 484 parents of anxiety disordered children and 261 parents in a normal control group participated in the study. Results of confirmatory factor analysis provided support for six intercorrelated factors, that corresponded with the child self-report as well as with the classification of anxiety disorders by DSM-IV (namely separation anxiety, generalized anxiety, social phobia, panic/agoraphobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and fear of physical injuries). A post-hoc model in which generalized anxiety functioned as the higher order factor for the other five factors described the data equally well. The reliability of the subscales was satisfactory to excellent. Evidence was found for both convergent and divergent validity: the measure correlated well with the parent report for internalizing symptoms, and lower with externalizing symptoms. Parent-child agreement ranged from 0.41 to 0.66 in the anxiety-disordered group, and from 0.23 to 0.60 in the control group. The measure differentiated significantly between anxiety-disordered children versus controls, and also between the different anxiety disorders except GAD. The SCAS-P is recommended as a screening instrument for normal children and as a diagnostic instrument in clinical settings.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Anxiety Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Child
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parents*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Psychometrics
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sex Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires