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Facts and Tips on the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale

Gloria Goodwin's picture
Facts and Tips on the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale

No one is exactly the same when it comes to personality and level of shyness or social anxiety. There are individuals who can stay out in public and thrive when there is a lot of activity while others will avoid this altogether. Any level of shyness or social anxiety has its pros and cons but there may come a time when severe anxiety completely prevents a person from leaving their home.

Liebowitz and His Social Anxiety Test

Since there are so many different levels of shyness and social anxiety, it is necessary to be able to measure it. The Liebowitz social anxiety scale was created by psychiatrist Michael Liebowitz to assess a person's level of public anxiety. The test consists of 24 items. 11 of these items pertain to social situation whereas the other 13 regard performance anxiety. This test was and still is used to determine the range of social interactions as well as performance anxiety within patients who have been diagnosed with various types of social anxiety disorder, which in 1980 were classified as psychiatric disorders.

Components of the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale in More Detail

There are all sorts of social situations that a person including yourself might find themselves in. The 11 scenarios documented in this test are very common and happen in everyday life. Such situations include:

  1. Going to a party;
  2. Hosting a party;
  3. Talking to superiors such as a boss;
  4. Calling a person that you don't know very well;
  5. Talking to a person that you aren't acquainted with;
  6. Meeting someone new;
  7. Disagreeing with someone you don't know very well;
  8. Being in the spotlight of a social gathering;
  9. Looking a stranger in the eyes;
  10. Resisting a salesperson that is pressuring you;
  11. Returning or exchanging products at a store.

There are 13 more questions on the test that concern performance anxiety. These include:

  1. Giving a report or presentation to a group of people;
  2. Trying to pick up a person at a social gathering;
  3. Participating in meetings;
  4. Taking an exam or test;
  5. Entering a room where there are already people waiting or seated;
  6. Using a public washroom;
  7. Writing while someone is watching you;
  8. Working while someone is watching you;
  9. Performing or acting in front of a group of people;
  10. Eating in public areas;
  11. Drinking in public areas;
  12. Talking within small groups of people such as friends or colleagues;
  13. Using the telephone in public areas.

The Importance of Honesty for the Test

When answering these questions, you are asked to give a number between 0 and 3. The lower the number, the less anxiety you feel and the fewer times you avoid the situation. The higher the number, the more you feel anxious and the more times you avoid them. While answering higher numbers to a variety of questions does not mean that you have social anxiety disorder, if you feel anxious for many of them, you may want to consult a doctor. The key to obtaining an accurate result with the Liebowitz social anxiety scale is answering honestly. You can deny the right answers if you wish but you will not obtain an accurate test result.

Treatment for Diagnosed Social Anxiety Disorders

The first step in getting help is to admit that you need it. With any self help for any issue, this has to be done because otherwise the treatments or therapy will not have the same effect. Once you have decided that you need help, there are forms of assistance that can reduce these fears that you have with social situations and public performances. There are prescription drugs, natural medicines as well as therapy available. Paroxetine is often prescribed for those who experience social anxiety because of the physical symptoms that they may experience, however, this isn't always necessary. It is possible to combat these fears with support groups, friends and family, and natural anxiety treatments. Sometimes a little boost in self esteem can be the answer as well.

Obtaining a Diagnosis

Of course, obtaining a proper diagnosis is always important. You can take this social anxiety test anywhere you are because all you have to do is answer the questions with the number that honestly describes your feelings in the said situations. In the event that you do receive a moderate to severe score on the test, you are recommended to see a doctor. The physician will tell you the best options based on how you wish to solve the condition. Drugs aren't always the recommended course of action considering self-help can address many social anxiety issues. 

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