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13-03-2018 | Original Paper | Uitgave 6/2018

Journal of Child and Family Studies 6/2018

A Multi-Informant Approach to Assessing Safety Behaviors among Adolescents: Psychometric Properties of the Subtle Avoidance Frequency Examination

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 6/2018
Auteurs:
Noor Qasmieh, Bridget A. Makol, Tara M. Augenstein, Melanie F. Lipton, Danielle E. Deros, Jeremy N. Karp, Lauren M. Keeley, Michelle L. Truong, Sarah J. Racz, Andres De Los Reyes

Abstract

Safety behaviors are subtle avoidance strategies for minimizing distress within social situations (e.g., avoidance of eye contact). These behaviors factor prominently in the development and maintenance of social anxiety concerns, and when patients use these behaviors within psychosocial treatments for social anxiety, this may impede treatment response. Prior work supports the need to include measures of safety behaviors within evidence-based assessments of social anxiety. Along these lines, researchers developed the Subtle Avoidance Frequency Examination (SAFE) to assess safety behaviors among adults. However, we know relatively little about the SAFE’s psychometric properties when administered to adolescents. We tested the SAFE’s psychometric properties using adolescent self-reports and parallel parent reports in a mixed-clinical/community sample of 96 14 to 15 year-old adolescents and their parents (33 clinic-referred; 63 community control; 59.4% African American). Adolescent and parent SAFE reports displayed moderate correspondence with each other. Both adolescent and parent SAFE reports related positively to well-established measures of adolescent social anxiety and depressive symptoms. Both reports distinguished adolescents on referral status as well as cut scores on well-established measures of adolescent social anxiety. Further, both adolescent and parent SAFE reports displayed incremental validity in relation to survey reports of adolescent social anxiety, over-and-above survey reports of adolescent depressive symptoms, which commonly co-occur with social anxiety. However, adolescent (but not parent) SAFE reports predicted adolescents’ social anxiety and state arousal as displayed within social interactions with unfamiliar peer confederates. These findings have important implications for leveraging multi-informant approaches to assessing safety behaviors among adolescents.

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