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Reliability and validity of the Work and Social Adjustment Scale in phobic disorders

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  • Medicine


The Work and Social Adjustment Scale (WSAS) is a simple widely used 5-item measure of disability whose psychometric properties need more analysis in phobic disorders. The reliability, factor structure, validity, and sensitivity to change of the WSAS were studied in 205 phobic patients (73 agoraphobia, 62 social phobia, and 70 specific phobia) who participated in various open and randomized trials of self-exposure therapy. Internal consistency of the WSAS was excellent in all phobics pooled and in agoraphobics and social phobics separately. Principal components analysis extracted a single general factor of disability. Specific phobics gave less consistent ratings across WSAS items, suggesting that some items were less relevant to their problem. Internal consistency was marginally higher for self-ratings than clinician ratings of the WSAS. Self-ratings and clinician ratings correlated highly though patients tended to rate themselves as more disabled than clinicians did. WSAS total scores reflected differences in phobic severity and improvement with treatment. The WSAS is a valid, reliable, and change-sensitive measure of work/social and other adjustment in phobic disorders, especially in agoraphobia and social phobia.

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