Early detection of social anxiety: Reliability and validity of a teacher questionnaire for the identification of social anxiety in young children

Koos Bokhorst1, Frits A. Goossens1, Piet A. De Ruyter1
1Free University of Amsterdam, Netherlands
Cite this article:  Bokhorst, K., Goossens, F. A., & De Ruyter, P. A. (2001). Early detection of social anxiety: Reliability and validity of a teacher questionnaire for the identification of social anxiety in young children. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 29(8), 787-798.

Volume 29 Issue 8 | e1138 | Published: December 2001 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.2001.29.8.787

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Socially anxious children have been described in the literature as at risk of developing increasing emotional problems and of being deprived of valid learning experiences with peers. In order to enable teachers to detect social anxiety in preschoolers the authors developed a scale. The TRSA-"junior" (Teacher Rating Scale of Social Anxiety-"junior") is a brief Likert-type questionnaire for the identification of social anxiety in 5-to 6-year-old children. Reliability (internal consistency plus test-retest correlation) collected in 2 samples was high. Convergent and divergent validity of this newly developed rating-scale were also studied. A high level of social anxiety correlated with a low level of social participation, as observed on the playground. The TRSA-"junior" score correlated with "internalizing" as measured by the Behavior Questionnaire for Toddlers and Preschoolers (BQTP) and the Child Behavior Check List (CBCL), and with the subscales "anxious-depressed", "thought problems", "social problems" and "withdrawn behavior" of the CBCL. In the second study a high score on social anxiety appeared to be related to less positive sociometric judgments by peers. The authors conclude that the TRSA-"junior" may aid in the identification and prevention of social anxiety at an early age. In addition, the scale would appear to be a useful instrument in research, given its sound psychometric qualities.

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