Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale

Evaluates social phobia by rating anxiety and avoidance in a range of social interaction and performance situations.

Refer to the text below the calculator for more information about the self-report instrument and its interpretation.


The Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale (LSAS) is a self-report assessment of social phobia that focuses on a range of social interaction and performance situations. Each of the 24 items are evaluated on two Likert scales, one for Anxiety and one for Avoidance behaviours.


LSAS Score Interpretation
0 - 29 No social anxiety
30 - 49 Mild social anxiety
50 - 64 Moderate social anxiety
65 - 79 Marked social anxiety
80 - 95 Severe social anxiety
> 95 Very severe social anxiety

Instruction: For each of the following statements, please select the point on the scale that you feel is most appropriate in describing the anxiety and avoidance behaviors.

1Using a telephone in public
2Participating in a small group activity
3Eating in public
4Drinking with others
5Talking to someone in authority
6Acting, performing, or speaking in front of an audience
7Going to a party
8Working while being observed
9Writing while being observed
10Calling someone you don't know very well
11Talking face to face with someone you don't know very well
12Meeting strangers
13Urinating in a public bathroom
14Entering a room when others are already seated
15Being the center of attention
16Speaking up at a meeting
17Taking a test of your ability, skill, or knowledge
18Expressing disagreement or disapproval to someone you don't know very well
19Looking someone who you don't know very well straight in the eyes
20Giving a prepared oral talk to a group
21Trying to make someone's acquaintance for the purpose of a romantic/sexual relationship
22Returning goods to a store for a refund
23Giving a party
24Resisting a high pressure sales person
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Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale Explained

The Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale (LSAS) is an assessment of social phobia that focuses on a range of social interaction and performance situations, developed by Dr. Michael R Liebowitz. Each of the 24 items are evaluated on two Likert scales, one for Anxiety and one for Avoidance behaviours.

The anxiety subscale asks how anxious or fearful the subject feels in that particular situation.

  • None = 0
  • Mild = 1
  • Moderate = 2
  • Severe = 3

The avoidance subscale asks how often the subject avoids the situation.

  • Never = 0
  • Occasionally (1-33% of the time) = 1
  • Often (33-67% of the time) = 2
  • Usually (67-100% of the time) = 3

The global score totals anxiety and avoidance for all 24 items and is interpreted as follows:

LSAS score Interpretation
0 - 29 No social anxiety
30 - 49 Mild social anxiety
50 - 64 Moderate social anxiety
65 - 79 Marked social anxiety
80 - 95 Severe social anxiety
> 95 Very severe social anxiety

The LSAS focuses on the way that social phobia plays a role in the life of the respondent, in a variety of situations. The respondent is asked to relate to their behaviour in the past week.

The original scale was developed as a clinician-rated measure, where the administrator describes each situation to the respondent and asks them to rate their fear and avoidance. The clinician may then adjust the initial response based upon clinical judgment. Currently, the scale is more often used as patient-rated, for quicker and less costly administration.

If the respondent does not ordinarily experience a particular situation, they should be advised to imagine the situation and rate the degree they would fear the hypothetical situation and how often they think they would tend to avoid it.

The scale has a wide range of uses, from the general public concerned that they may be experiencing signs of a disorder (with the caveat that they should then ask for professional advice) to clinical settings and research studies.

Whilst the LSAS was found by several studies to be an effective and cost-efficient way to identify people with social anxiety (excellent internal consistency or reliability), clinical diagnosis of SAD must be based on an assessment by a trained mental health professional.

Rytwinski et al. found that the self-report version of the scale can be used in screening individuals for social anxiety disorder, with a cut-off score of 30 accurately identifying 90% of the individuals with SAD.

Heimberg et al. found that the scale is sensitive to change so may be used alongside treatment with psychotropic medication to monitor changes in social anxiety and treatment success.

 

References

Original reference

Liebowitz MR. Social phobia. Modern Problems in Pharmacopsychiatry. 1987.

Other references

Fresco DM. The Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale: A comparison of the psychometric properties of self-report and clinician-administered formats. Psychological Medicine. 2001; 31(6):1025-35.

Rytwinski NK, Fresco DM, Heimberg RG, et al. Screening for social anxiety disorder with the self-report version of the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale. Depress Anxiety. 2009; 26(1):34-38.

Heimberg RG, Horner KJ, Juster HR, et al. Psychometric properties of the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale. Psychol Med. 1999; 29(1):199-212.


Specialty: Psychiatry

Year Of Study: 1987

Abbreviation: LSAS

Article By: Denise Nedea

Published On: July 8, 2020

Last Checked: July 8, 2020

Next Review: July 8, 2025