Social Phobia Screener (SOPHS)

Usage: No permission required - please cite reference

This scale is designed to screen individuals in the community for presence of social phobia (also known as social anxiety disorder) and severity of social phobia symptoms.

Some people feel fearful or embarrassed in social situations, such as: speaking in public, eating in public or with others, writing while someone watches, blushing or looking foolish, attending parties or meetings, speaking with someone in authority, being criticised by others. 

  Not at all A little Moderately Severely Extremely
To what extent have you felt fearful or embarrassed of any social situations during the past month?
Was the fear or embarrassment you experienced during the past month excessive or unreasonable?
During the past month, have you avoided any social situations because of your fear or embarrassment?
During the past month, how much have you suffered through any social situations because of your fear or embarrassment?
During the past month, how much has your work, home or social life been disrupted because of your fear or embarrassment?

Notes: Respondents who respond “Not at all” to the first item skip all remaining items.


Scoring: Screening positive for possible social phobia is based on responses of “a little” or higher to items 1, 2 and 5, and either item 3 or 4. Severity scores are obtained by summing responses to all items, with “Not at all” scoring 0, up to “Extremely” scoring 4. Severity scores range from 0-20.

Norms and psychometric properties

The SOPHS has been validated in a community-based sample of young Australians aged 18-30 (n = 12292), with accuracy compared to diagnostic interview (social phobia caseness on the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview) in a subsample of 1687 with elevated anxiety symptoms.

Accuracy: The SOPHS had 78% sensitivity and 72% specificity, comparable to the 17-item Social Phobia Inventory (88% sensitivity, 58% specificity) and the 3-item Mini-SPIN (74% sensitivity, 73% specificity).

Internal consistency: The SOPHS had high internal consistency (Cronbach alpha = 0.93).

Factor structure: All five items loaded on single factor accounting for 70% of variance, with loadings of 0.87 or higher.

Population norms: The mean severity score within the population-based sample of young people was 2.6 (sd = 3.7). Scores were significantly higher for females and younger adults.

Age range (years) Male - M (sd) Female - M (SD)
18-24 2.4 (3.7) 2.9 (3.9)
25-30 2.3 (3.6) 2.6 (3.6)

Key references

Batterham PJ, Mackinnon AJ & Christensen H. (in subsmission). Development and population-based testing of the Social Phobia Screener (SOPHS)./p>

Updated:  21 September 2017/Responsible Officer:  Director/Page Contact:  Executive Support Officer