Abend R, Dan O, Maoz K, Raz S, Bar-Haim Y. Reliability, validity and sensitivity of a computerized visual analog scale measuring state anxiety. J Behav Ther Exp Psychiatry. 2014 Dec;45(4):447-53. Epub 2014 Jun 18. PMID: 24978117.

J Behav Ther Exp Psychiatry. 2014 Dec;45(4):447-53. doi: 10.1016/j.jbtep.2014.06.004. Epub 2014 Jun 18.

Reliability, validity and sensitivity of a computerized visual analog scale measuring state anxiety.

Abend R(1), Dan O(2), Maoz K(3), Raz S(2), Bar-Haim Y(3).

Author information:
(1)School of Psychological Sciences, Tel Aviv University, P.O. Box 39040, Tel Aviv 69978, Israel. Electronic address: abend@tau.ac.il.
(2)Department of Psychology, The Center for Psychobiological Research, The Max Stern Yezreel Valley College, Israel.
(3)School of Psychological Sciences, Tel Aviv University, P.O. Box 39040, Tel Aviv 69978, Israel.

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Assessment of state anxiety is frequently required in clinical and research settings, but its measurement using standard multi-item inventories entails practical challenges. Such inventories are increasingly complemented by paper-and-pencil, single-item visual analog scales measuring state anxiety (VAS-A), which allow rapid assessment of current anxiety states. Computerized versions of VAS-A offer additional advantages, including facilitated and accurate data collection and analysis, and applicability to computer-based protocols. Here, we establish the psychometric properties of a computerized VAS-A.

METHODS: Experiment 1 assessed the reliability, convergent validity, and discriminant validity of the computerized VAS-A in a non-selected sample. Experiment 2 assessed its sensitivity to increase in state anxiety following social stress induction, in participants with high levels of social anxiety.

RESULTS: Experiment 1 demonstrated the computerized VAS-A's test-retest reliability (r = .44, p < .001); convergent validity with the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory's state subscale (STAI-State; r = .60, p < .001); and discriminant validity as indicated by significantly lower correlations between VAS-A and different psychological measures relative to the correlation between VAS-A and STAI-State. Experiment 2 demonstrated the VAS-A's sensitivity to changes in state anxiety via a significant pre- to during-stressor rise in VAS-A scores (F(1,48) = 25.13, p < .001).

LIMITATIONS: Set-order administration of measures, absence of clinically-anxious population, and gender-unbalanced samples.

CONCLUSIONS: The adequate psychometric characteristics, combined with simple and rapid administration, make the computerized VAS-A a valuable self-rating tool for state anxiety. It may prove particularly useful for clinical and research settings where multi-item inventories are less applicable, including computer-based treatment and assessment protocols. The VAS-A is freely available: http://people.socsci.tau.ac.il/mu/anxietytrauma/visual-analog-scale/.

Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

PMID: 24978117 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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