Psychometric Properties of the SCARED in a Nationally Representative U.S. Sample of 5-12-Year-Olds

J Clin Child Adolesc Psychol. Nov-Dec 2020;49(6):761-772. doi: 10.1080/15374416.2019.1614001. Epub 2019 May 28.


Objective: To examine the factor structure of the Screen for Child Anxiety Related Emotional Disorders - Parent Report (SCARED-P) in young children and elucidate normative levels of parent-reported anxiety using a nationally representative sample of parents of children ages 5-12 years living in the United States.

Method: The 41-item SCARED-P was administered to parents of 1,570 youth who were selected to match the U.S. population on key demographic variables. SCARED-P model fit and mean score differences by age, race/ethnicity, and sex were assessed.

Results: SCARED-P model fit and subscale reliability appeared almost identical in younger children (ages 5-8) and older children (ages 9-12), although model fit for a five-factor model was poor in both groups. Symptoms of generalized anxiety increased from age 5 to 12, while symptoms of separation anxiety disorder decreased. Parents reported significantly more symptoms of social anxiety in females than males. No significant differences by race/ethnicity were found for mean levels of anxiety or model fit.

Conclusions: The SCARED-P shows some utility as an anxiety screening instrument in a representative sample of U.S. youth as young as 5-years-old, but caution should be used when interpreting subscale scores.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Emotions / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychometrics / methods*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • United States