The Multidimensional Anxiety Scale for Children (MASC): Factor Structure, Reliability, and Validity

Department of Psychiatry, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.
Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 7.26). 05/1997; 36(4):554-65. DOI: 10.1097/00004583-199704000-00019
Source: PubMed


To describe the history, factor structure, reliability, and validity of the Multidimensional Anxiety Scale for Children (MASC).
In two separate school-based population studies, principal-components factor analysis was used, first, to test a theory-driven factor structure, and second, to develop an empirically derived factor structure for the MASC. In a separate study using a clinical population, test-retest reliability at 3 weeks and 3 months, interrater concordance, and convergent and divergent validity were examined.
The final version of the MASC consists of 39 items distributed across four major factors, three of which can be parsed into two subfactors each. Main and subfactors include (1) physical symptoms (tense/restless and somatic/autonomic), (2) social anxiety (humiliation/rejection and public performance fears), (3) harm avoidance (perfectionism and anxious coping), and (4) separation anxiety. The MASC factor structure, which presumably reflects the in the vivo structure of pediatric anxiety symptoms, is invariant across gender and age and shows excellent internal reliability. As expected, females show greater anxiety on all factors and subfactors than males. Three-week and 3-month test-retest reliability was satisfactory to excellent. Parent-child agreement was poor to fair. Concordance was greatest for easily observable symptom clusters and for mother-child over father-child or father-mother pairs. Shared variance with scales sampling symptom domains of interest was highest for anxiety, intermediate for depression, and lowest for externalizing symptoms, indicating adequate convergent and divergent validity.
The MASC is a promising self-report scale for assessing anxiety in children and adolescents.

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    • "The scales are the Physical Symptoms Scale that includes the Somatic Symptom subscale and Tense Symptom subscale; the Harm Avoidance Scale consisting of the Perfectionism subscale and Anxious Coping subscale; the Social Anxiety Scale containing the Humiliation Fears subscale and Performance Fears subscale; and the Separation Scale that does not contain any subscales. The indexes included in the MASC are the Anxiety Disorders Index, Total Anxiety Index, and Inconsistency Index (March, James, Sullivan, Stallings, & Conners, 1997). The psychometric properties of the Icelandic version has been shown to maintain the factor structure and reliability of the MASC as well as good internal consistency (α = .89; "
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    • "However, we also included the total MASC score to test the specificity of our hypotheses to social anxiety versus general anxiety. The MASC and MASC-SA have been demonstrated to have excellent retest reliability, internal consistency, and good convergent and discriminant validity (March et al. 1997). Importantly, several studies have demonstrated that the MASC-SA is highly correlated with measures of depression, such as the CDI, which is not surprising given the considerable overlap between depression and anxiety (Anderson et al. 2009; Muris et al. 2002; Rynn et al. 2006). "
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