Safety Behaviors and Social Anxiety: An Examination of the Social Phobia Safety Behaviours Scale

  • Nancy L. Kocovski
  • Meagan B. MacKenzie
  • Jenna J. Albiani
  • Susan R. Battista
  • Sheena Noel
  • Jan E. Fleming
  • Martin M. Antony


The Social Phobia Safety Behaviours Scale (SPSBS) is a measure designed to identify and assess safety behavior use. The current study is the first to evaluate the psychometric properties of the English SPSBS. Using four samples (N = 725), the component structure, validity, and ability of the SPSBS to function as a state measure were examined. The results of the principal component analyses suggest that the SPSBS is a two-component measure, consisting of an inhibitory behavior component and a management of physical symptoms component, and the scale has good internal consistency. The SPSBS also showed good concurrent validity in both clinical and nonclinical samples. Moreover, there was evidence to suggest that the SPSBS is an accurate measure of situational use of safety behaviors as compared to observers’ ratings. The results of this investigation show that the SPSBS is a useful tool for the identification and measurement of safety behaviors.


Social anxiety Social phobia Safety behaviors 



The authors gratefully acknowledge financial support awarded to the first author from the Ministry of Research and Innovation, Ontario Mental Health Foundation, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. The authors would like to thank Rebecca Blackie for her assistance with some of the data analyses. Correspondence may be addressed to Nancy Kocovski, Department of Psychology, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3C5; e-mail:

Conflict of Interest

Nancy L. Kocovski, Meagan B. MacKenzie, Jenna J. Albiani, Susan R. Battista, Sheena Noel, Jan E. Fleming and Martin M. Antony declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Experiment Participants

The current study was conducted with the informed consent of all participants. This project was approved by the applicable university Reseach Ethics Boards.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nancy L. Kocovski
    • 1
  • Meagan B. MacKenzie
    • 1
  • Jenna J. Albiani
    • 2
  • Susan R. Battista
    • 3
  • Sheena Noel
    • 1
  • Jan E. Fleming
    • 4
  • Martin M. Antony
    • 2
  1. 1.Wilfrid Laurier UniversityWaterlooCanada
  2. 2.Ryerson UniversityTorontoCanada
  3. 3.Dalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada
  4. 4.Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and University of TorontoTorontoCanada

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