Interaction Anxiousness Scale


Author of Tool: 

Leary, M. R.

Key references: 

Leary, M. R. (1983). Social anxiousness: The construct and its measurement. Journal of Personality Assessment, 47, 66-75.

Leary, M. R., & Kowalski, R. M. [1993]. The Interaction Anxiousness Scale: Construct and criterion-related validity. Journal of Personality Assessment, 61, 136-146.McKenna KYA, Bargh JA. 2000. Plan 9 from cyberspace: the implications of the Internet for personality and social psychology. Personal. Soc. Psychol. Bull. 4:57–75

Primary use / Purpose: 

The IAS is a self-report measure of dispositional social anxiety.


Leary (1983) provided a conceptual distinction between types of social fear on the basis of the structure of the situations in which anxiety occurs. He argued that “Interpersonal encounters differ in the degree to which an individual’s responses follow from or are contingent upon the responses of other interactants”. In the case of ‘contingent interactions’ (Leary, 1983), responses are continuously contingent upon, and tailored to, the responses of other individuals (as in social interactions). In ‘non-contingent encounters’, behaviour is guided primarily by one’s plans and such behaviour is minimally, if at all, guided by the responses of others present in the situation (as in the case of scrutiny fears). Similarly, the DSM-III-R (American Psychiatric Association, 1987) has recently suggested this same distinction in specifying two important aspects of disturbance in social phobia: the circumscribed fears of scrutiny whilst eating, drinking, talking in public, urinating, and writing with associated concerns of blushing, trembling, etc.; and the more “general fears of [social interactions, including] saying foolish things or not being able to answer questions” The self-report measures of social anxiety that are commonly used in social psychological and personality research confound the measurement of social anxiousness with the measurement of specific behaviors that often, but not always, accompany social anxiety. The Social Interaction Anxiety Scale (SIAS) is a measure of anxiety in social interactional situations.


Psychometric data show the scale to possess high internal consistency and test-retest reliability, as well as strong evidence of construct and criterion validity.



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