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Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale (LSAS)

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Updated July 07, 2012

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Description of the LSAS:

The Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale (LSAS) is a 24-item, self-rated scale used to assess how social phobia plays a part in your life across a variety of situations. The LSAS was developed by psychiatrist and researcher Dr. Michael R. Liebowitz.

How the LSAS is Administered:

Each item on the LSAS describes a situation about which you must answer two questions.

First, you must respond about how anxious or fearful you feel in the situation. This item is rated using a 4-point likert scale:

  • 0 = none
  • 1 = mild
  • 2 = moderate
  • 3 = severe

Next, you must respond about how often you avoid the situation. This item is rated using a different 4-point scale:

  • 0 = never
  • 1 = occasionally
  • 2 = often
  • 3 = severe

If a question describes a situation that you do not ordinarily experience, you are asked to imagine how you would respond if faced with the situation. All questions are answered based on how the situations have affected you in the past week. Below are some sample situations from the questionnaire:

  • Using a telephone in public
  • Participating in a small group activity
  • Eating in public

Information Provided by the LSAS:

The LSAS is scored by summing the item ratings. Below are the suggested interpretations for various score ranges. As with any self-report instrument, scores on the LSAS need to be interpreted by a qualified mental health professional and followed up with a full diagnostic interview for social anxiety disorder (SAD) when warranted.

  • 55-65 Moderate social phobia
  • 65-80 Marked social phobia
  • 80-95 Severe social phobia
  • Greater than 95 - Very severe social phobia

Accuracy of the LSAS:

Studies have shown the LSAS to be an effective and cost-efficient way to identify people with SAD.

Sources:

Rytwinski NK, Fresco DM, Heimberg RG, et al. Screening for social anxiety disorder with the self-report version of the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale. Depression and Anxiety. 2009;26(1):34-8.

Baker SL, Heinrichs N, Kim H-J, Hofmann SG. The Liebowitz social anxiety scale as a self-report instrument: a preliminary psychometric analysis. Behavior Research and Therapy. 2000:40(6);701-715.

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