Background. The present study provides data on the reliability,
validity and treatment sensitivity of
the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale (LSAS), one of the most commonly used
scales for the assessment of social phobia.
Method. Three hundred and eighty-two patients from several
studies of the treatment of social
phobia were evaluated. An independent assessor administered the LSAS to
each patient prior to the
initiation of treatment. Patients also completed other measures of social
anxiety and avoidance,
although the specific measures varied across samples.
Results. The LSAS and its subscales were normally distributed
and demonstrated excellent internal
consistency. The convergent validity of the LSAS was demonstrated via significant
other commonly-used measures of social anxiety and avoidance. These correlations
also tended to
be larger than correlations with measures of depression, especially after
treatment. However, the
pattern of correlations of LSAS subscales with one another and with the
other measures suggest that
the fear subscales and the avoidance subscales may not be sufficiently
distinct in clinical samples.
The LSAS was also demonstrated to be sensitive to the effects of pharmacological
social phobia over time and in comparison to double-blind pill placebo.
Conclusion. The LSAS appears to be a reliable, valid and treatment
sensitive measure of social
phobia. Further study of the LSAS, both in samples with severe social phobia
and in community
samples, is needed.