Journal of Anxiety Disorders
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The Fear of Negative Evaluation Scale [FNE; J. Consult. Clin. Psychol. 33 (1969) 448] is a commonly used measure of social anxiety. A brief version of the scale (FNEB) is available for convenient administration. Despite being widely advocated for use, the psychometric properties of the FNEB have not been evaluated with clinically anxious samples. The present study addressed the reliability and validity of the FNEB in a clinical sample of individuals with either social phobia (n = 82) or panic disorder (n = 99) presenting for treatment. Factor analysis supported the construct validity of the FNEB. The validity of the FNEB was further demonstrated through significant correlations with social avoidance and depression, and non-significant correlations with agoraphobic avoidance and demographic variables. The scale obtained excellent inter-item reliability (alpha = .97) and 2-week test-retest reliability (r = .94). Discriminant function analysis also supported validity of the FNEB. For example, individuals with social phobia scored significantly higher on the FNEB than those with panic disorder and a group of non-psychiatric community controls (n = 30). The FNEB was sensitive to pre- to post-CBT changes in both social anxiety and panic disorder, and changes on the FNEB correlated significantly with other measures of treatment responsiveness, such as reductions in somatic arousal, depression and other anxiety symptomatology. These research findings strongly support the validity of the FNEB and its clinical utility as an outcome measure in social anxiety treatment.