Social Avoidance and Distress Scale (SADS)

The Social Avoidance and Distress Scale (SADS) uses a questionnaire including 28 true/false items. This instrument was developed to quantify social anxiety. Two aspects of anxiety are measured: Four experiences – distress, discomfort, fear, anxiety – and the avoidance of social situations.

The SAD scale is closely linked with the Fear of Negative Evaluation Scale (FNE) in dealing with social anxiety. Each use social situations in the questioning.

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David Watson and Ronald Friend (1969)

Validity and Reliability

The SADS instrument has been valued at high reliability with its internal consistency at .94 and the test-reliability ranging from .68. This data was found by Watson and Friend, using SADS on a sample of student groups. Also, based on a sample of 206 patients, SADS correlation rating with FNE and STAI, State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, was moderately high.

Obtaining the SADS

The American Psychological Association holds the copyright to the SADS items which appeared in Table 1, page 450, of the following APA journal article:

Watson, D., Friend, R. (1969). Measurement of social-evaluative anxiety. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 33(4), 448-457.

To request permission to use the scale, fill out the APA Copyright and Permission Request Form which can be found at (Word document) You also must include with the completed form a copy of the scale as you wish to use it for your research.

Administration, Analysis and Reporting

Statistics Solutions consists of a team of professional methodologists and statisticians that can assist the student or professional researcher in administering the survey instrument, collecting the data, conducting the analyses and explaining the results.

For additional information on these services, click here.


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Heine, S. J., & Lehman, D. R. (1997). The cultural construction of self- enhancement. An investigation of group-serving biases. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 72, 1268-1283.

Markus, H. R., & Kitayama, S. (1991a). Culture and the self: Implications for cognition, emotion, and motivation. Psychological Review, 98, 224-253

Rathus, S.A., & Nevid, J.S. (1991). Abnormal psychology. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Watson, D., & Friend, R. (1969). Measurement of social-evaluative anxiety. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 33, 448-457.