Revised Children’s Anxiety and Depression Scale (RCADS)

The Revised Children’s Anxiety and Depression Scale (RCADS; Chorpita, Yim, Moffitt, Umemoto & Francis, 2000) is a 47-item self report measure which assesses the frequency of anxiety and depression symptoms in youth aged 8-18 years.  The RCADS was developed in Hawaii, United States and is partly a revision of Spence’s Children’s Anxiety Scale (SCAS; 1997).  The measure has a parent-version form as well as a short-form (RCADS-25; Ebesutani et al., 2012). The RCADS is composed of 6 scales, 5 of which are related to anxiety (separation anxiety disorder, social phobia, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder) and another one related to major depressive disorder. The scales are aligned with anxiety and depression diagnosis criteria in the DSM-IV. Individuals rate their answers on a 4-point likert scale ranging from “never” to “always”.  The results can be scored manually or via the scoring software created by the authors. In terms of results, T-scores greater than 65 are borderline clinically significant whereas those above 75 are clinically significant. These T-scores indicate that the individual’s responses reflect anxiety and depression-related symptoms very similar to those of individuals who meet diagnostic criteria for that particular disorder or syndrome.

The RCADS has good internal consistency with Cronbach alpha values ranging from .78 for social anxiety disorder to .88 for panic disorder in a clinical population (Chorpita, Moffitt & Gray, 2005) as well as acceptable internal consistency in the general population (Chorpita et al.,2000).  Furthermore, the measure has good convergent validity with similar measures such as the Revised Children’s Manifest Anxiety Scale (RCMAS; Reynolds & Richmond, 1978), the Children’s Depression Inventory (CDI) and interview dimensional ratings (Chorpita et al., 2005).  The RCADS also has favourable test-retest reliability for most scales with the social phobia scale being most reliable (0.80) and the obsessive compulsive disorder scale generally being the least reliable (0.65) when tested in a community sample of school children and adolescents (Chorpita et al., 2000). In terms of model fit, a study by Chorpita et al. (2005) using confirmatory factor analysis indicated an adequate model fit for a 6-factor model when compared to a 1 factor and a 2 factor model. The RCADS has been successfully validated in several countries including Australia (de Ross, Gullone & Chorpita,2002), Denmark (Esbjorn, Somhovd, Turnstedt & Reinholdt-Dunne, 2010), the Netherlands (Kosters, Chinapaw, Zwaanswijk, van der Wal & Koot, 2015) and Spain (Sandin, Valiente & Chorot, 2009) in clinical and school-based samples.

The RCADS is available publicly and free of cost from It can be used for both educational and professional purposes. However, if you want to use this tool for research purposes, permission is required from the authors. It’s a valuable tool for use with youth suspected of having an anxiety disorder or major depressive disorder as its scales reflect DSM-IV criteria and it’s one of the only anxiety measures that also measures depressive symptoms separately.  Furthermore, the RCADS has been translated into several languages including Spanish, Chinese and French and due to its cross-cultural validations, it can be used with youth from different cultures. It should be noted that the RCADS is only standardized for grades 3 and above as T-Score conversions have not been developed for children younger than grade three. Therefore, the authors recommend using clinical judgement for interpreting raw scores for these children.



Chorpita, B. F., Moffitt, C. E., & Gray, J. (2005). Psychometric properties of the Revised Child Anxiety and Depression Scale in a clinical sample. Behaviour research and therapy43(3), 309-322.

Chorpita, B. F., Yim, L., Moffitt, C., Umemoto, L. A., & Francis, S. E. (2000). Assessment of symptoms of DSM-IV anxiety and depression in children: A revised child anxiety and depression scale. Behaviour research and therapy38(8), 835-855.

de Ross, R. L., Gullone, E., & Chorpita, B. F. (2002). The revised child anxiety and depression scale: a psychometric investigation with Australian youth. Behaviour Change19(02), 90-101.

Ebesutani, C., Reise, S. P., Chorpita, B. F., Ale, C., Regan, J., Young, J., … & Weisz, J. R. (2012). The Revised Child Anxiety and Depression Scale-Short Version: Scale reduction via exploratory bifactor modeling of the broad anxiety factor. Psychological Assessment24(4), 833.

Esbjørn, B. H., Sømhovd, M. J., Turnstedt, C., & Reinholdt-Dunne, M. L. (2012). Assessing the Revised Child Anxiety and Depression Scale (RCADS) in a national sample of Danish youth aged 8–16 years. PLoS One7(5), e37339.

Kösters, M. P., Chinapaw, M. J., Zwaanswijk, M., van der Wal, M. F., & Koot, H. M. (2015). Structure, reliability, and validity of the revised child anxiety and depression scale (RCADS) in a multi-ethnic urban sample of Dutch children. BMC psychiatry15(1), 132.

Reynolds, C. R., & Richmond, B. O. (1978). What I think and feel: A revised measure of children’s manifest anxiety. Journal of abnormal child psychology6(2), 271-280.

Sandín, B., Valiente, R. M., & Chorot, P. (2009). RCADS: evaluación de los síntomas de los trastornos de ansiedad y depresión en niñosy adolescentes. Revista de Psicopatología y Psicología Clínica14(3), 193-206.

Spence, S. H. (1998). A measure of anxiety symptoms among children. Behaviour research and therapy36(5), 545-566.

Spence Children’s Anxiety Scale (SCAS)

The Spence Children’s Anxiety Scale (SCAS) developed by Spence (1998), is a self-report measure designed to assess the severity of anxiety symptoms in children relating to separation anxiety, social phobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic agoraphobia, generalised anxiety and fears of physical injury. The major sample involved in the acquisition of normative data included 2,052 children, 8-12 years of age, recruited from primary schools in Brisbane, Australia. The scale was primarily developed as most child-report measures of anxiety fail to examine anxiety symptoms that relate to specific anxiety disorders, such as separation anxiety disorder. Secondly, most of the measures available are downward extensions of adult measures of anxiety and are based on the assumptions that childhood anxiety closely resembles adult anxiety (Spence, 1998).

The scale consists of 44 items which can be filled out by the child. Thirty-eight of the items reflect specific symptoms of anxiety, while 6 relate to positive, filler items to reduce negative response bias, such as, “I am the most popular amongst other kids my own age”. The scale is quick and easy to administer, taking only 10 minutes. Items are consistent with specific DSM-IV anxiety disorders. Participants are asked to rate the degree to which they experience a symptom on a 4-point frequency scale, Never, Sometimes, Often and Always. Sample items from the separation anxiety subscale include, “I worry about being away from my parents” and “I feel scared if I have to sleep on my own”. Sample items from the obsessive-compulsive subscale include, “I have to keep checking that I have done things right (like the switch is off, or the door is locked)” and “I have to do some things in just the right way to stop bad things happening” (Spence, 1998).

The total score may be computed from adding together all the subscale scores. The sub-scale scores are computed by adding the individual item scores on the set of items within that domain. Scores within one standard deviation (ie. a T-score of 10) above the mean on any dimension are regarded as being within the normal range on that dimension. A T-score of 60 is indicative of sub-clinical or elevated levels of anxiety. This justifies further investigation and confirmation of diagnostic status using clinical interview.

Confirmatory factor analysis demonstrates that the SCAS items load strongly upon the factors that they purport to measure. Internal consistency (reliability) for the total scale is extremely high (.92) confirming that the items of the scale are measuring the same construct. The internal consistency for the subscales is also acceptable, .82 (panic-agoraphobia); .70 (separation anxiety); .70 (social phobia); .60 (physical injury fears); .73 (obsessive-compulsive) and .73 (generalised anxiety). Test-retest reliability was examined in a sample of 344 children who were reassessed after 6-months after the initial data collection which showed a test-retest reliability coefficient of .60. This suggests reasonably high reliability over a 6-month period for the total score. Test-retest reliabilities were lower for the individual subscales, indicating children’s reports of anxiety symptoms tend to decrease after a six-month retest interval. The SCAS total score correlates significantly (.71) with the Revised Children’s Manifest Anxiety Scale (RCMAS).

Since the development of the SCAS a parent version (Nauta et al., 2004), a pre-school version (Spence, Rapee, McDonald, & Ingram, 2001) and an adolescent version (Spence, Barrett, & Turner, 2003) has been developed, validated and readily available. The SCAS is freely available and provides a measure of anxiety symptoms related to specific anxiety disorders. The SCAS is used in clinical contexts for both assessment and evaluation purposes. It is also used to identify children at risk of developing anxiety problems and for monitoring outcome intervention. The developers of the SCAS stipulate a diagnosis should be made with the addition of a structured clinical interview.


Nauta, M. H., Scholing, A., Rapee, R. M., Abbott, M., Spence, S. H., & Waters, A. (2004). A parent-report measure of children’s anxiety: psychometric properties and comparison with child-report in a clinic and normal sample. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 42(7), 813-839. doi: 10.1016/S0005-7967(03)00200-6

Spence, S. H. (1998). A measure of anxiety symptoms among children. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 36(5), 545-566. doi: 10.1016/S0005-7967(98)00034-5

Spence, S. H., Barrett, P. M., & Turner, C. M. (2003). Psychometric properties of the Spence Children’s Anxiety Scale with young adolescents. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 17(6), 605-625. doi: 10.1016/S0887-6185(02)00236-0

Spence, S. H., Rapee, R., McDonald, C., & Ingram, M. (2001). The structure of anxiety symptoms among preschoolers. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 39(11), 1293-1316.



Screen for Child Anxiety Related Emotional Disorders (SCARED)

The Screen for Child Anxiety Related Emotional Disorders (SCARED) was originally developed in the US as a child self-report (8-18year olds) and parent report instrument to screen children with anxiety disorders (Birmaher et al., 1997). An 85-item questionnaire based on the DSM-IV classification of anxiety disorders was generated. It was administered to 341 outpatient children and adolescents and 300 parents who were referrals to a mood/anxiety disorders clinic. Ages ranged from 9-18 years, 59% were female, 82% were Caucasian and 18% African-American. It was reduced to 38 items using item and factor analyses. The SCARED scales map onto specific DSM-IV-TR anxiety disorders, whereby 4 of the scales map directly onto Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Panic Disorder (PD), Separation Anxiety Disorder (SAD), and Social Phobia (SP). The fifth scale is School Anxiety (SA), or School Refusal, while a serious anxiety problem, is not a DSM-IV-TR anxiety disorder (Hale, Crocetti, Raaijmakers, & Meeus, 2011). This is also the case for the DSM-5 (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).

The SCARED is a paper and pencil test; 10 mins to administer, can be immediately scored, simply by adding the items for each scale. The interpretation indicating which DSM-IV-TR anxiety disorder(s) is at the bottom of the form itself. There is no additional manual. There is a child and parent version of the same form. There are 3 answer choices to select to describe the child in the last 3 months; 0 = Not true or hardly ever true, 1 = Somewhat true or Sometimes true, and 2 = Very true or Often true. Example items:

Child version – When I get frightened it is hard to breathe.  I don’t like to be away from my family.

Parent version  – When my child feels frightened, it is hard for him/her to breathe. My child doesn’t like to be away from his/her family.

The child and parent SCARED both yielded five factors: somatic/panic, general anxiety, separation anxiety, social phobia and school phobia. For the total score and each of the five factors, both the child and parent SCARED demonstrated good internal consistency (α = .74 to .93), test-retest reliability (intraclass correlation coefficients = .70 to.90), discriminant validity (both between anxiety and other disorders and within anxiety disorders), and moderate parent-child agreement (r = .20 to .47, p < .001, all correlations) (Birmaher et al., 1997).

There were very few age, sex or race differences in both parent’ and children’s responses. In the child report, younger children (aged 9 to 12 years, n = 61) had significantly higher separation anxiety scores than older children (>12 years old, n = 280). However no age differences were found on parent report. The child and parent total anxiety scores, generalized anxiety, separation anxiety, panic, and school phobia factors were significantly higher in females than in males (all comparisons p < .05).

There were no significant race differences in the child SCARED. In the parent SCARED, African-American children had significantly higher scores on separation anxiety factor (3.8 ± 3.3 versus 2.6 ± 3.1, t1.297  = 2.0, p = .05, after Bonferroni correction) than Caucasians.

SCARED was further supported as a reliable and valid screening tool for clinically referred children and adolescents with anxiety disorders (Monga et al., 2000). It was tested against the Child Behaviour Checklist (CBCL) and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory for Children (STAIC) to determine divergent and convergent validity. The SCARED correlated significantly better with the CBCL’s internalizing factors than with the externalising factors. Additionally, the parent and child forms of the SCARED correlated significantly with the trait and state subscales of the STAIC. Children with an anxiety disorder scored significantly higher on the SCARED than children with depression only or disruptive disorders only (P < 0.05), demonstrating its discriminant validity.

A meta-analysis of the cross-cultural psychometric properties of the SCARED reported on 25 studies predominately from Europe (Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands) the USA, South America and China. Psychometric properties were robust for the scales related to the symptoms of the DSM-IV-TR anxiety disorders, that females scored significantly higher than males and that age had a moderating effect on males and female score differences. The meta-analysis suggests that the SCARED can be used as a screening instrument for DSM-IV-TR anxiety disorder symptom dimensions for children and adolescents from various countries (Hale et al., 2011).

The SCARED is available at no cost at under tools and assessments, or at under instruments. Intended users are clinicians and psychiatrists in screening 8-18 year olds with anxiety disorders. More recently the test has shown promise as a measure of anxiety in paediatric pain (Jastrowski et al., 2012).


American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.

Birmaher, B., Brent, D. A., Chiappetta, L., Bridge, J., Monga, S., & Baugher, M. (1999). Psychometric properties of the Screen for Child Anxiety Related Emotional Disorders (SCARED): A replication study. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 38(10), 1230–6. doi: 10.1097/00004583-199910000-00011

Birmaher, B., Khetarpal, S., Brent, D., Cully., Balach, L., Kaufman, J., & McKenzie  Neer, S.             (1997). The screen for child anxiety related emotional disorders (SCARED): Scale construction and psychometric characteristics. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry,36(4), 545-553. doi: 10.1097/00004583-199704000-00018

Hale, W. W., Crocetti, E., Raaijmakers, Q. A. W., & Meeus, W. H. J. (2011). A meta-analysis of the cross-cultural psychometric properties of the screen for child anxiety related emotional disorders (SCARED). Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 52(1), 80-90. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2010.02285.x

Jastrowski, M. K. E., Evans, J. R., Tran, S. T., Khan, K. A., Weisman, S. J., & Hainsworth, R. (2012). The psychometric properties of the screen for child anxiety related emotional disorders in pediatric chronic pain. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 37(9), 999-1011. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/jsso69

Monga, S., Birmaher, B., Chiappetta, L., Brent, D., Kaufman., Bridge, J., & Cully, M. (2000). Screen for child anxiety-related emotional disorders (SCARED): Convergent and divergent validity. Depression and Anxiety, 12(2), 85-91. doi: 10.1002/15206394(2000)12:2<85::aid-da4>;2-2