Academic journal article North American Journal of Psychology

Validation of the Persian Translation of the Fear of Negative Evaluation Scale

Academic journal article North American Journal of Psychology

Validation of the Persian Translation of the Fear of Negative Evaluation Scale

Article excerpt

Research in clinical psychology shows that anxiety experienced in social situations is an important determinant of mental disorders. Family relations, performance, and hospitalization in psychopaths are reported to be associated with distressful social relationships (Watson & Friend, 1969). Social phobia or social anxiety disorder is a prevalent phenomenon in modern societies. Research shows that 12.1% of the adult population in America (Kessler, Berglund, Demler, Jin, Merikangas, & Walters, 2005) and 8.9% of women in Spain (Crespo, Ontoso, & Grima, 1998) have experienced social phobia and social anxiety in their lives.

In an experimental study, Karakashian, Walter, Christopher, and Lucas (2006) showed that FNE is a marginal predictor of helping behavior. They demonstrated that participants with high FNE were less likely to help others presumably because of fear of bystanders' negative appraisal. High FNE individuals are also reported to avoid potentially threatening social comparison information (Friend & Gilbert, 1973, cited in Leary, 1983) and feel uneasy about receiving unfavorable evaluations (Smith & Sarason, 1975, cited in Leary, 1983).

Fear of negative evaluation as the cognitive component of social phobia is defined as "apprehension about others' evaluations, distress over their negative evaluations, avoidance of evaluative situations, and the expectation that others would evaluate oneself negatively" (Watson & Friend, 1969, p.449). FNE might be the result of prior disapproval received or a combination of prior received disapproval and desire for approval. It seems that FNE is acquired because of frustration and punishment received in the past. Individuals with high FNE are concerned about being evaluated unfavorably. They are apprehensive about other's judgment of them, try to gain social approval and avoid disapproval. High FNE individuals are presumably affected by the possibility of disapproval; therefore, they avoid situations where they might be unfavorably judged (Watson & Friend, 1969).

Watson and Friend (1969) developed a scale to measure FNE as a dimension of social evaluative anxiety. The scale is composed of 30 true-false items which is often complained to be too long as it exhausts respondents especially when it is given along with other tests (Leary, 1983). Watson and Friend (1969) reported a KR-20 reliability of .94, a four-week retest reliability of .78, and a mean item discrimination of .72 (item-total correlations) for the scale. The scale also had a negative correlation with the Crowne-Marlowe (1964) social desirability scale (r = -.25). Their findings further showed that females had a significantly higher level of FNE than males.

In an attempt to make the FNE scale shorter, Leary (1983) developed a brief fear of negative evaluation (BFNE) scale by selecting 12 items out of the 30 items of the original scale. The criterion for selection of the items was item-total correlation: items with item-total correlations of at least .50 were selected. The response format of the scale was also altered from dichotomous to a five-point Likert scale. Leary (1983) demonstrated the validity of the brief version of FNE scale with a number of correlations in the form of convergent-discriminant analysis. BFNE had an internal consistency reliability of .90 (Cronbach's alpha), correlated at .96 with the original FNE, and had a four-week test-retest reliability of .75.

In most studies the two scales of FNE and BFNE are assumed to be measure a unidimensional construct. However, more recent research on the factorial structure of the scales demonstrated that the scales are two-dimensional: positively phrased items form one dimension and negatively phrased items comprise another dimension (Rodebaugh, Woods, Thissen, Heimberg, Chambless, & Rapee, 2004). Several authors, therefore, recommend using only positively worded items as negatively worded ones cause confusion and lead to unexpected replies (Duke, Krishnan, Faith & Storch, 2006; Weeks et al. …

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