The social phobia and social interaction anxiety scales: An exploration of the dimensions of social anxiety and sex differences in structure and relations with pathology

Abstract

This study sought to provide information on the Social Phobia Scale (SPS) and Social Interaction Anxiety Scale (SIAS) of Mattick and Clarke (1989) with respect to factor structure, relations with psychopathology, and sex differences. A sample of 200 university students completed the SPS and SIAS and various measures of anxiety symptoms and depression. The results from the factor analyses for the sample as a whole suggest the presence of three factors corresponding to scrutiny fears, social interaction anxiety, and a general level of discomfort in social interactions. The results for men replicated this structure. For women, the three-factor solution demonstrated a blurring between the types of anxiety-provoking situations, and a general discomfort in situations involving differences in social power. In general, the discomfort factor was not correlated with measures of pathology, raising the possibility that uneasiness in these situations represents a process that is not part of social anxiety. The distinction between scrutiny fears and social interaction anxiety was also supported by the pattern of partial correlations that suggests that the presence of scrutiny fears is a stronger predictor of psychopathology than is social interaction anxiety, especially for men.

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Correspondence to Paul L. Hewitt.

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Habke, A.M., Hewitt, P.L., Norton, G.R. et al. The social phobia and social interaction anxiety scales: An exploration of the dimensions of social anxiety and sex differences in structure and relations with pathology. J Psychopathol Behav Assess 19, 21–39 (1997). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02263227

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Key words

  • social anxiety
  • social phobia
  • social interaction anxiety
  • assessment