The Screen for Child Anxiety and Related Emotional Disorder (SCARED) was shown to have good diagnostic utility and specificity in distinguishing healthy children as well as comorbid, and non-comorbid anxiety in treatment-seeking children, but was less discriminating in non-treatment-seeking children, according to research published in the Journal of Anxiety Disorders.

To evaluate the discriminant validity, diagnostic utility, and informant agreement of SCARED, researchers tested the screen in 2 separate studies evaluating treatment-seeking anxious youth compared with healthy controls (N=585) and non-treatment-seeking anxious youth compared with healthy controls (N=331). Enrolled children with anxiety were previously diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, or comorbid generalized anxiety disorder and social anxiety disorder.

In the treatment-seeking youth, SCARED was shown to discriminate between healthy patients, patients with comorbid anxiety disorders, and patients with non-comorbid anxiety disorders based on child scores (P <.001) and parent scores (P <.001). In a similar manner, SCARED diagnostic utility was good, with modest agreement between parents and children.

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In non-treatment-seeking children, SCARED was shown to have less consistent diagnostic utility, specificity, and informant agreement between children and parents.

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The study investigators concluded that the results “demonstrated various aspects of the psychometric properties of [the] SCARED.” They noted that “[the] SCARED is a valuable tool, but that like many tools, there may be more or less productive ways to utilize it across a wide variety of studies. Thus, clinicians and researchers should carefully consider the context in which they plan to utilize [the] SCARED.”


Rappaport BI, Pagliaccio D, Pine DS, Klein DN, Jarcho JM. Discriminant validity, diagnostic utility, and parent-child agreement on the Screen for Child Anxiety Related Emotional Disorders (SCARED) in treatment- and non-treatment-seeking youth. J Anxiety Disord. 2017;51:22-31.