Computer-administered rating scales for social anxiety in a clinical drug trial

Depress Anxiety. 1998;7(3):97-104. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1520-6394(1998)7:3<97::aid-da1>;2-2.


Computer-administered versions of two clinician-administered symptom rating scales for social anxiety (the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale [LSAS] and the Brief Social Phobia Scale [BSPS]) and one paper-and-pencil scale (the Fear Questionnaire) were developed and utilized in a clinical trial for social phobia. The reliability and validity of the computer versions were examined, as were their equivalence to the traditional versions. Correlations between the computer and original versions were high at baseline, and remained high throughout the study. The internal consistency reliability of the computer scales was also high, and almost identical to the original versions. Mean score differences between computer and original versions were not significant at baseline, and no significant differences were found between computer and traditional versions on the amount of change detected from baseline to endpoint. Seventy-seven percent of subjects felt that the computer did not interfere with their visit at baseline and a plurality (36%) preferred the computer, with 30% preferring the clinician and 34% having no preference. By the end of the study, the plurality (41%) had no preference, with 27% preferring the computer and 32% preferring the clinician. Results support the use of these computer-administered symptom rating scales of social anxiety as a viable alternative to the clinician-administered versions with this subset of patients, which should offer researchers and clinicians a reliable and cost-effective method for evaluating social phobia.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anxiety Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Diagnosis, Computer-Assisted / instrumentation*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / methods
  • Patient Satisfaction / statistics & numerical data
  • Phobic Disorders / diagnosis
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales / standards*
  • Psychometrics / instrumentation
  • Psychometrics / standards
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Social Behavior Disorders / diagnosis*