Brief Fear of Negative Evaluation Scale, Straightforward Items (BFNE-S)


Author of Tool: 

Carleton, Collimore, McCabe, & Antony, 2011; Rodebaugh et al., 2004; Weeks et al., 2005

Key references: 

Carleton, R. N., Collimore, K. C., McCabe, R. E., & Antony, M. M. (2011). Addressing revisions to the Brief Fear of Negative Evaluation scale: Measuring fear of negative evaluation across anxiety and mood disorders. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 25, 822-828. doi: 10.1016/j.janxdis.2011.04.002 doi: 10.1016/j.janxdis.2011.04.002

Carleton, R. N., Collimore, K. C., & Asmundson, G. J. G. (2007). Social anxiety and fear of negative evaluation: Construct validity of the BFNE-II. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 21, 131-141. doi: S0887-6185(06)00047-8 [pii] 10.1016/j.janxdis.2006.03.010

Rodebaugh, T. L., Woods, C. M., Thissen, D. M., Heimberg, R. G., Chambless, D. L., & Rapee, R. M. (2004). More information from fewer questions: The factor structure and item properties of the original and Brief Fear of Negative Evaluation scale. Psychological Assessment, 16, 169-181. doi: 10.1037/1040-3590.16.2.169

Weeks, J. W., Heimberg, R. G., Fresco, D. M., Hart, T. A., Turk, C. L., Schneier, F. R., & Liebowitz, M. R. (2005). Empirical validation and psychometric evaluation of the Brief Fear of Negative Evaluation scale in patients with social anxiety disorder. Psychological Assessment, 17, 179-190. doi: 10.1037/1040-3590.17.2.179

Leary, M. R. (1983). A brief version of the Fear of Negative Evaluation scale. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 9, 371-375. doi: 10.1177/0146167283093007

Primary use / Purpose: 

The BFNE-S is an 8-item version of the BFNE (Leary, 1983) that is used for measuring fears of negative evaluation (e.g., “When I am talking to someone, I worry about what they may be thinking about me”). It comprises the eight straightforwardly worded items (i.e., items 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11, 12) from the original BFNE (Leary, 1983). Each item is rated on a 5-point Likert scale, ranging from 0 (not at all characteristic of me) to 4 (extremely characteristic of me).


Rodebaugh et al. (2004) and Weeks et al. (2005) have reported that the eight straightforwardly-worded items are more reliable and valid indicators of FNE than the reverse-scored items in undergraduate and clinical samples, respectively. Consequently, Rodebaugh et al. (2004) and Weeks et al. (2005) have suggested utilizing only the eight straightforward (-S) Brief Fear of Negative Evaluation Scale (BFNE) items to calculate the total score, a position ratified by a recent comparative analyses conducted by Carleton et al. (2011).


The BFNE-S has demonstrated excellent internal consistency (αs > .92), factorial validity, and construct validity in undergraduate (Carleton, Collimore, & Asmundson, 2007; Rodebaugh et al., 2004) and clinical (Weeks et al., 2005) samples. In the current sample, internal consistency for the total score was excellent (α = .95), and the average inter-item correlation was .60.



Microsoft Office document iconBrief fear of negative evaluation

Other Information: 

Simply sum client’s ratings. A cutoff score of 25 may be indicative of clinically significant social anxiety. For further interpretation, see Carleton et al. (2011).

Digital Object Identifier (DOI):


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