Screen for Child Anxiety Related Emotional Disorders Parent Version (SCARED Parent)

The Screen for Child Anxiety Related Emotional Disorders (SCARED) is a parent reported scale used to screen for anxiety disorders in children (aged 8-18 years), including generalised anxiety, separation anxiety disorder, panic disorder and social phobia (Birmaher et al., 1997). The parent is asked questions about their child, with the questions corresponding closely to the child version of the SCARED. The SCARED Parent consists of 41 items and has five factors that correspond with anxiety disorders outlined in the DMS-IV:
1) Somatic/panic
2) General anxiety
3) Separation anxiety
4) Social phobia
5) School phobia

The scale is designed to be used by clinicians as a screener for anxiety disorders in children, and can be used to track outcomes during the course of treatment.

It is recommended that both the parent and child version of the SCARED are administered due to the moderate correlation between the two versions.

The 41 item version of the SCARED was developed by Birmaher and colleagues (1999). The scale was administered to 190 children and adolescents attending an outpatient mood/anxiety disorders clinic and their parents. The 190 children and adolescents were diagnosed with either an ‘anxiety’ (n = 45) or ‘nonanxiety’ (n = 145) disorder by a trained clinician.

Factor analysis yielded five subscales; (somatic/panic, general anxiety, separation anxiety, social phobia and school phobia). Moderate correlations were found between the parent and child version (Birmaher et al., 1999).

The SCARED has demonstrated good discriminate validity. Findings indicated that the total score and score for each of the five factors of the child SCARED significantly differentiated children with anxiety disorders from children with other disorders. Similar results were found for the total score and the panic/somatic and separation anxiety factor scores of the parent SCARED. For the most part scales on both the parent and child version of the SCARED were also able to significantly differentiate between anxiety disorders (Birmaher et al., 1999).

Many studies have confirmed the validity and reliability of the SCARED in both clinical and community samples (Hale et al., 2011).

Items are summed to obtain an overall total score and a score for each of the five subscales. A cut-off score for the total score and each subscale was suggested by the test developers and were chosen based on scores which yielded the highest sensitivity and specificity. A total score of 25 or more may indicate the presence of an anxiety disorder.

– Panic disorder or significant panic symptoms. Items 1, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 19, 22, 24, 27, 30, 34, 38. A score of 7 or above may indicate the presence of panic disorder or significant somatic symptoms.

– Generalised anxiety disorder. Items 5, 7, 14, 21, 23, 28, 33, 35, 37. A score of 9 or above ( may indicate the presence of panic disorder.

– Separation Anxiety. Items 4, 8, 13, 16, 20, 25, 29, 31. A score of 5 or above may indicate separation anxiety.

– Social Phobia. Items 3, 10, 26, 32, 39, 40, 41. A score of 8 or above may indicate social phobic disorder.

– School avoidance. Items 2, 11, 17, 36. A score of 3 or above may indicate school avoidance.

Birmaher, B., Khetarpal, S., Cully, M., Brent, D., & McKenzie, S. (1995). Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, University of Pittsburgh.

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