The Screen for Child Anxiety Related Emotional Disorders (SCARED): scale construction and psychometric characteristics

J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 1997 Apr;36(4):545-53. doi: 10.1097/00004583-199704000-00018.


Objective: To develop a reliable and valid child and parent self-report instrument to screen children with anxiety disorders.

Method: An 85-item questionnaire was administered to 341 outpatient children and adolescents and 300 parents. Utilizing item analyses and factor analyses, the original scale was reduced to 38 items. A subsample of children (n = 88) and parents (n = 86) was retested an average of 5 weeks (4 days to 15 weeks after the initial screening.

Results: The child and parent Screen for Child Anxiety Related Emotional Disorders (SCARED) both yielded five factors: somatic/panic, general anxiety, separation anxiety, social phobia For the total score and each of the five factors, both the child and parent SCARED demonstrated good internal consistency (alpha = .74 to .93), test-retest reliability (intraclass correlation coefficients = .70 to .90), discriminative validity (both between anxiety and other disorders and within anxiety disorders), and moderate parent-child agreement (r = .20 to .47, p < .001, all correlations).

Conclusions: The SCARED shows promise as a screening instrument for anxiety disorders. Future studies using the SCARED in community samples are indicated.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Anxiety Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Child
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales / standards*
  • Psychometrics / methods*
  • Psychometrics / standards
  • ROC Curve
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sampling Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity