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.

  • Source
    • "None met criteria for autismspectrum disorder. Participants completed (via self-reported) the Multidimensional Anxiety Scale for Children (MASC) (March et al., 1997) to obtain an index of the severity of anxiety symptoms and the Children's Depression Inventory (CDI) (Kovacs, 1988) to obtain a global rating of depressive symptoms. Functioning was measured with the Childhood Global Assessment Scale (CGAS) (Shaffer et al., 1983). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Objective: It remains unclear whether very early onset psychosis (VEOP; ≤12years of age) and early onset psychosis (EOP; onset 13-17years of age) are homogeneous in their clinical presentation. We investigated the predictive value of age of psychosis onset for severity, functioning and demographic variation by: 1) comparing groups based on traditional cut-offs for age of psychosis onset, and 2) using receiver operating characteristic (ROC)-curve calculations, without a priori age of onset cut-offs. Method: Participants were 88 (45 female, 43 male) children and adolescents with a recent onset of psychosis (age range=6.7-17.5years; M=13.74, SD=2.37). Results: The VEOP group had significantly shorter duration of untreated illness and untreated psychosis, and lower functioning than the EOP group. The VEOP and EOP groups did not differ significantly on gender proportion, urbanicity, psychotic diagnosis, family history of psychotic disorder, psychotic, depressive and anxiety symptoms or IQ. When applying ROC-curves to the lowest three quartiles of positive psychotic symptoms scores, the optimal age-cut-off was 14.0years (sensitivity=0.62; specificity=0.75). For the highest quartile of functioning scores, the optimal differentiating cut-off for age of psychosis onset was 14.7years (sensitivity=0.71; specificity=0.70). Conclusions: Larger samples of patients, assessed at presentation and followed-up, are necessary to clearly examine clinical presentation and outcome as a function of social and neural development to better understand if the differentiation between VEOP and EOP is justified. This will aid the development of predictive diagnostic tools, more accurate prognosis prediction, and age-tailored therapeutic interventions.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2015 · Schizophrenia Research
    • "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; "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Objective: Studies on comorbidity in children diagnosed with ADHD have relied more on parent/teacher reports instead of self-reported data and have focused on the frequency of comorbid symptoms instead of scores above clinical cutoffs. The purpose of this study was to examine the prevalence of oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), anxiety, and depression in children with ADHD, using self-report measures for internalizing symptoms and parent-reported measures for externalizing symptoms for increased accuracy. Gender differences were also assessed. Method: Parents of 197 children diagnosed with ADHD answered the Disruptive Behavior Rating Scale, and 112 of the children filled out the Multidimensional Anxiety Scale for Children and the Children's Depression Inventory. Results: Results revealed that 19.28% of the children met cut-off criteria for ODD, 41.96% for anxiety, and 21.43% for depression. Conclusion: Our findings indicate a relatively lower prevalence of ODD and a slightly higher prevalence of anxiety symptoms than previously reported. Possible explanations and future directions are discussed.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2015 · Journal of Attention Disorders
  • Source
    • "2.3.5. Anxiety symptoms The Multidimensional Anxiety Scale for Children (MASC) (March et al., 1997 "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background: Adolescent depression and suicide are pressing public health concerns, and identifying key differences among suicide ideators and attempters is critical. The goal of the current study is to test whether depressed adolescent suicide attempters report greater anhedonia severity and exhibit aberrant effort–cost computations in the face of uncertainty. Methods: Depressed adolescents (n ¼ 101) ages 13–19 years were administered structured clinical interviews to assess current mental health disorders and a history of suicidality (suicide ideators¼55, suicide attempters¼46). Then, participants completed self-report instruments assessing symptoms of suicidal ideation, depression, anhedonia, and anxiety as well as a computerized effort–cost computation task. Results: Compared with depressed adolescent suicide ideators, attempters report greater anhedonia severity, even after concurrently controlling for symptoms of suicidal ideation, depression, and anxiety. Additionally, when completing the effort–cost computation task, suicide attempters are less likely to pursue the difficult, high value option when outcomes are uncertain. Follow-up, trial-level analyses of effort–cost computations suggest that receipt of reward does not influence future decision-making among suicide attempters, however, suicide ideators exhibit a win–stay approach when receiving rewards on previous trials. Limitations: Findings should be considered in light of limitations including a modest sample size, which limits generalizability, and the cross-sectional design. Conclusions: Depressed adolescent suicide attempters are characterized by greater anhedonia severity, which may impair the ability to integrate previous rewarding experiences to inform future decisions. Taken together, this may generate a feeling of powerlessness that contributes to increased suicidality and a needless loss of life.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2015 · Journal of Affective Disorders
Show more