Date of Graduation
Social anxiety is experienced across the lifespan, with many individuals reporting symptoms of anxiety and shyness from a very early age in childhood. A number of measures have been designed to assess social anxiety in children, adolescents, and adults, yet little attention has been focused on children below 8 years of age. While some debate exists concerning children's ability to reliably report symptoms of anxiety in early childhood, recent research has indicated that accurate data can be obtained if the measures utilized are developmentally sensitive and not simply downward extensions of measures used to examine social anxiety in adults. Obtaining self-report data from children experiencing anxiety is often critical for a thorough assessment, as a large component of fear and anxiety is private, subjective, and non-observable. The current study sought to create and validate a developmentally sensitive measure of social anxiety in preschool-aged children. Thirty preschool-aged children completed the Social Phobia and Anxiety Inventory - Preschool measure and were rated on a number of assessments examining their anxiety and behavior at school and home. Behavioral observations and a behavioral approach task were used to measure inhibition in social situations. Results indicated high internal consistency of test items (.88). Test-retest reliability over a two week period was also high (r = .61). Concurrent validity was assessed by comparing total scores on the SPAI-P with a number of measures assessing social anxiety and internalizing symptoms, along with behavioral observations and a behavioral approach task. No significant correlations were found, although limited sample size may have reduced the ability to detect potentially significant correlations. Implications of the study and future directions are discussed.
Chorney, Daniel B., "Assessment of social anxiety in early childhood: Initial test construction and *validation." (2009). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 8630.