The Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale – Self-Report (LSAS–SR) is a 24-item, self-rated scale that measures social phobia’s role in your life across various situations.
|Authors:||Dr. Michael R. Liebowitz|
|Seminal paper:||Social phobia. Modern problems of pharmacopsychiatry (Liebowitz, 1987)|
Take the test here:
What it tests
The LSAS is one of the most popular and widely used measures of social phobia that has been developed;Social phobia. Modern problems of pharmacopsychiatry (Liebowitz, 1987) and unlike other social anxiety questionnaires, the LSAS is the only situation-based instrument of social anxiety that also distinguishes between fear and avoidance ratings.The Liebowitz social anxiety scale as a self-report instrument: a preliminary psychometric analysis (Baker et al., 2002)
So the test not only gives a measure of your social anxiety, but a measure of how much you tend to avoid social situations as well.
Who the test is designed for
- Autistic adults judged to have an IQ in the normal range or higher (IQ > = 100+)
- Versions for adolescents and children are also available
Versions & translations
The test has been translated into most languages. Non-adult versions are also available:
Taking the test
The Test consists of 24 statements, giving you 4 choices in two categories for each statement:
- None = 0 points
- Mild = 1 point
- Moderate = 2 points
- Severe = 3 points
- Never = 0 points
- Occasionally = 1 point
- Often = 2 points
- Usually = 3 points
The 24 items are divided into two subscales:
- 13 statements relate to performance anxiety
- 11 concern social situations
- Each item is rated on two 4-point Likert-type scales
- The first rating is a measure of fear/anxiety and ranges from 0 (none) to 3 (severe)
- The second rating is a measure of avoidance and ranges from 0 (never) to 3 (usually)
- Never (0%); occasionally (1–33%); often (33–67%); usually (67–100%)The Liebowitz social anxiety scale as a self-report instrument: a preliminary psychometric analysis (Baker et al., 2002)
- A total score is calculated by summing all of the fear and avoidance ratings
- There is a maximum of 144 points
- A score of 30+ means you have social anxiety disorder
- A score of 60+ means you have generalized social anxiety disorder
On the National Social Anxiety Center website, the following scoring scale is used:
Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale scoring scale
|0–29||You do not suffer from social anxiety|
|30–49||Mild social anxiety|
|50–64||Moderate social anxiety|
|65–79||Marked social anxiety|
|80–94||Severe social anxiety|
|> 95||Very severe social anxiety|
How reliable, accurate, valid, and up to date is the test?
- The LSAS–SR showed overall good psychometric properties as indicated by the results of test–retest reliability, internal consistency, and convergent and discriminant validity.The Liebowitz social anxiety scale as a self-report instrument: a preliminary psychometric analysis (Baker et al., 2002)
- However, the fear subscale of performance situations showed lesser test–retest reliability, meaning ratings of this scale can change when retaking the test.The Liebowitz social anxiety scale as a self-report instrument: a preliminary psychometric analysis (Baker et al., 2002)
- Furthermore, the scale was sensitive to treatment change.The Liebowitz social anxiety scale as a self-report instrument: a preliminary psychometric analysis (Baker et al., 2002)
Score: 80 (38 fear / 42 avoidance)
I found the test useful in terms of assessing my level of social anxiety. I also like that the test has good psychometric properties. I would suggest taking the test and then sitting with what answers you chose and then going through it once again after a few minutes. Research shows that about 50% of autistics have social anxiety compared to the general population. I suspect the number is greater than that.
Score: 103 (50 fear / 53 avoidance)
#6 and #20 seem like the approximately same question; if I fear talking in front of an audience, I will fear giving an oral talk equally. However, I understand the distinction, because preparing an oral presentation creates extra pressure on top of speaking to an audience. Being the center of attention (#15) is another compounding pressure, although it’s also the main fear of speaking to an audience (#6).
Taking a test of your ability, skill, or knowledge (#17) constitutes a different fear for me; the fear is not about social pressure, but about not meeting my expectations and the impact this might have on my ego.
Urinating in a public bathroom (#13) constitutes a pretty unique fear, as historically, I haven’t had much of a problem with it. But as a trans woman, I have some social anxiety around it because of a fear I don’t pass as a woman, and someone might express discomfort around me being there. So far, this has never occurred, but I can’t help but think about it every time I use a public restroom.
What I didn’t like about the test is that—when you take the test on the NSAC website on mobile—for each answer, a pop-up panel opens rather than a drop-down menu. This makes it slower to take the test than it needs to be.
Also, I initially missed that each item is ranked on both fear and avoidance, so the design of the test could be improved to make this more clear.
Score: 92 (38 fear / 54 avoidance)
The statements, or situations, are more concise and unambiguous than most tests. Still, I often had to consider the balance between fear and avoidance, so I experienced uncertainty on several items. The results did surprise me—with a 92 (38 fear / 54 avoidance), I landed with surety in the Severe social anxiety category (80–94).
Score: 112 (54 fear / 58 avoidance)
I like that this test provides the two categories. Initially, I had expected that my avoidance score would match the fear score for each question, but that wasn’t necessarily the case. For example, in the situation “using a telephone in public”, I rated my fear as “moderate”, yet my avoidance as “occasionally”. For me, it is often more stressful to ignore a call because I feel pressured by the person who is calling me.
A couple of the questions seemed unclear to me, such as #4, “drinking with others”. I wasn’t sure what the questionnaire defined as “others”, and whether someone is a friend, acquaintance, or stranger changes the answer for me.
Overall, I find the test very useful and enlightening. I was amazed to see that I scored 112. While I am quite aware that I have social anxiety, I didn’t realize how significant it is! I’ve structured my life around avoiding most of the situations listed, which I suppose is my way of accommodating my social anxiety.
Recommended next steps
After the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale, consider taking one of the tests below.
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Toronto Empathy Questionnaire
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understand and respond to others
Toronto Alexithymia Scale
Measures difficulty in identifying and
describing emotions and feelings
Online autism tests can play an essential role in the process of self-discovery, and may inform your decision to pursue a formal diagnosis. For a formal assessment, please see a knowledgeable medical professional trained in assessing autism.
If you are looking for an autism assessment,
Dr. Natalie Engelbrecht can offer help!
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