Propiedades psicometricas del Inventario de Miedos Escolares para Preadolescentes (SFSS-II).
Fears related to school situations are frequent among children. In some cases the anxiety response persists or is very intense and can lead to rejection of school (King & Bernstein, 2001). The interest aroused by anxiety related to school can be explained by the serious negative repercussions on the child's learning and social behavior. School anxiety has also been the object of research due to its relation to separation anxiety (Last, Francis, Hersen, Kazdin, & Strauss, 1987) and agoraphobia (Berg, Marks, McGuire, & Lipsedge, 1974).
Inventories of fears are one of the most used instruments in the behavioral assessment of child fears and phobias (Graziano & Mooney, 1984). Some are drawn up from inventories used with adults, such as the Fear Survey Schedule for Children (FSSC; Scherer & Nakamura, 1968). Ryal & Dietiker (1979) reduced the items of this questionnaire to 48, creating the Children's Fear Survey Schedule. Ollendick (1983) maintained the 80 original items in the Revised Fear Survey Schedule for Children (FSSC-R) but simplified the estimation scale from five to three points. Both have been used with children and adolescents of different ages. The Fear Survey Schedule for Children-II (FSSC-II; Gullone & King, 1992) assesses the fears of adolescents including 78 items with a three-point estimation scale. Bouldin & Pratt (1998) adapted this instrument to be used with parents of children, resulting the Fear Survey Schedule for Children-II Parent (FSSC-IIP), which includes 94 items.
There are two inventories to assess child fears in Spanish. The first one, with two very similar versions of 103 items (Pelechano, 1981) and 100 items (Pelechano, 1984), it is completed by parents of children from 2 to 9 years, although in later studies it was used also with children and adolescents up to 14 years (Baguena & Chisbert, 1998). The second is made up of 74 items plus a final open question. It is applied to children and adolescents from 9 to 15 years old (Sosa et al., 1993).
The majority of fear scales contain items referring to school. Scherer & Nakamura (1968) and Ollendick, Matson & Helsel (1985) found that two fears related to school <<Bad exam grades>> and <<Being sent to the principal>>, were among the ten most common child fears. However, these inventories did not specify the characteristic stimuli of the school situation enough. A more specific instrument is the Children's School Questionnaire (SQ; Phillips, 1978). It consists of 198 questions, 74 of which assess anxiety in school situations, but has the drawback of being too extensive. Lyneham, Street, Abbott, and Rapee (2008) validated the School Anxiety Scale-Teacher Report (SAS-TR), made up of 16 items on a scale of 4 points. The test includes two subscales which measure social and generalized anxiety. The SAS-TR was found to have acceptable internal consistency, appropriate relationship with other teacher report scales and was positively correlated with parent report of child anxiety.
The revision of literature reveals that there are very few specific instruments for assessing school fears. Dunn (1964) analyzed the construct validity of the Test Anxiety Scale for Children by Sarason (TASC) and found four factors: test anxiety, generalized school anxiety, recitation anxiety and physiological arousal in anticipated recitation situations. The lack of psychometrically developed questionnaires for children to specifically evaluate school anxiety to a great extent limits the assessment of school situations which generate anxiety. In order to provide an instrument of specific evaluation, Garcia-Fernandez and Mendez (2008) created the School Fear Survey Schedule (SFSS). There are three versions of the inventory which can be completed by the schoolchildren, the parents and the teachers. There is a version (SFSS-I) for children from 3 to 7 years old, for children from 8 to 11 (SFSS-II), and the adolescent version (SFSS-III) aimed at secondary students.
The main objective of this study was to analyze the factorial structure and the psychometric properties of the preadolescent form of the School Fears Inventory (SFSS-II), in order to have a reliable, valid and viable instrument for the assessment of fears related to the school context of subjects from 8 to 11 years old. A second objective consisted in analyzing school situations which generate a greater degree of fear in preadolescents, gender differences and evolution with age.
The sample was made up of 3,665 children from 3rd to 6th grade attending 45 primary public schools in 3 southeastern counties in Spain, 1,858 boys (50.7%) and 1,807 girls (49.3%). The ages were 8 (280 boys and 292 girls), 9 (475 boys and 470 girls), 10 (562 boys and 535 girls) and 11 (541 boys and 510 girls). The average age was 9.72 (SD= 1.04). No statistical age or gender differences were found ([chi square] = 1.148; p= .76).
School Fears Survey Scale--Form II (SFSS-II; GarciaFernandez & Mendez, 2008). This version is employed to assess children from 8 to 11 years old. It is made up of 25 items and an additional open answer item. The items were developed from the situations collected in other versions of the same scale. The total score can be obtained by adding up the scores for the 25 items, and can range from 0 to 50. It can be used for individuals or collectively. Application time oscillates between 10 and 15 minutes.
State--rait Anxiety Inventory for Children (STAIC; Spielberger, 1973). This measure was designed to evaluate a permanent dimension of personality, trait--anxiety, and also includes a state --anxiety scale. The questionnaire is made up of 40 items and can be used individually or collectively with 9 to 15 year-old children. Application time oscillates between 15 and 20 minutes. The Spanish version of the STAIC has a high reliability coefficient (.85 --.89) and a concurrent validity coefficient with other high scales of anxiety (.75).
Fear Survey Schedule (FSS; Sosa, Capafons, Conesa-Peraleja, Martorell, Silva, & Navarro 1993). This is a general inventory of fears for children from 9 to 15 years old. It consists of 74 items. Application time oscillates between 15 and 20 minutes. It includes 13 primary factors which explain 54.40% of the variance and two secondary factors: physical fears and social fears. The internal consistency of the tests is .97 and test-retest reliability with an interval of 3 weeks is. 71.
Fear Questionnaire (FQ; Pelechano, 1984). An empirical analysis of the questionnaire was made which showed 11 primary factors: Fear of animals (internal consistency: .82), meteorological phenomena (internal consistency: .91), physical harm or threat from people (internal consistency: .78), blood (internal consistency: .80), death symbols-rites (internal consistency: .82), death of close family (internal consistency: .69), social fear I (failure and rejection) (internal consistency: .74), social fear II (unknown people, crowds) (internal consistency: .77), social fear III (violence between people) (internal consistency: .69), fear of enclosed places (internal consistency: .69) and fear of the imagination connected to frightening stories (internal consistency: .74). The explained variance is 47.71 and application time of approximately 30 minutes.
Data were collected during 2006. The research team contacted the schools to explain the goals of the investigation and ask for their collaboration. Written information was given to the principals. When the governing board agreed to participate, a letter was sent to the parents, informing and asking them for written authorization. Ninety-eight parents refuse to participate in the study. The participants completed the scale collectively (groups of 20-30) during class time. The average time for administering the questionnaires was 75 minutes. After the completion of the study, psychologists of the schools received a report with the scores of the students.
In order to explore the underlying structure of the scale, an exploratory factorial analysis of iterative principal components with varimax rotation was conducted using the statistical package SSPS 15.0. The models tested by confirmatory factor analysis were assessed using the statistical program AMOS 7.0. To calculate the correlations between each item and the scores for their respective subscale and the total score on the scale, a classical item analysis was made, using the program TESTAT 2.0 (Stenson, 1988). Scale homogeneity was calculated with alpha coefficient (Cronbach, 1951). Finally, a study of age and gender differences in scholar anxiety was made using the variance analysis (ANOVA) inter-subjects 2 x 4 (gender x age) using total and subscale scores in the SFSS-II.
The criteria used to select items from each factor were: a) to retain factors with an eigenvalue of 1 or over, b) to assign items loading .30 or over to each factor, and c) to include at least 5 items in each factor. The sample adequacy test Keiser-Meyer-Olkin (KMO= .93) and the sphericity test by Bartlett (Chi-squared= 42596.55; df= 300; p= .00) showed adequate values.
Measures were explored using iterative principal component factor analysis with the total sample. Four factors were found with an eigenvalue higher than 1 (Kaiser criterion for factor retention), which accounted for 55.8% of the variance. Finally four factors were isolated (see Table 1). Factor I, Fear of failure at school and punishment, indicates fear related to the school context, which includes situations of failure, such as failing exams and punishment, or being sent to the head's office. This factor is made up of 8 items which accounted for 28.42 % of the variance. Factor II, Fear of physical discomfort, reflects the fear of suffering pain derived from excessive vegetative activation, such as nauseas and stomach-ache. It is made up of 6 items which accounted for 15.12% of the variance. Factor III, Fear of social and school assessment, it includes fears of a social and school nature related to public performance, such as talking in class or assessments, or doing an exam. It is made up of 6 items which accounted for 7.8% of the variance. Factor IV, Anticipatory and separation anxiety is related to the anxiety which children experience when going to school or leaving their parents and it is made up of 5 items with accounted for 4.78% of the variance. The variance explained by the instrument was 55.81%.
The factor structure was also analyzed by confirmatory factor analysis. Three alternative models were assessed: 1) the null or independent model; 2) the one-factor model, in which all 26 scale items were forced to load on a general scholar fear factor; and 3) the four factor model allowing inter-correlations among factors. It was analyzed the correlation matrix and derived fit indexes from maximum likelihood estimation. To study the adequacy of the assessed models 5 fit indexes were used, the Normed Fit Index (NFI), the Goodness of Fit Index (GFI), the Adjusted Goodness of Fit Index (AGFI), the Comparative Fit Index (CFI), and the Root Mean Square Error of Approximation (RMSEA) as well as the Chi-square statistic. Hu and Bentler (1998) suggest cut-offs close to .90 for the CFI and NFI, as well as using a combination of fit indexes in order to reduce both type I and II errors. For the other indexes, the recommended criteria are: GFI equal to or greater than .80, AGFI equal to or greater than .85, and RMSEA equal to or under .05 According to the results, the best relative fit of the four models was found for the four-factor model allowing inter-correlations among them [[chi square] (269)= 3351.18; p<.00] (Table 2).
The factorial loadings for each item are shown in Table 3. These values are satisfactory and consistent with those obtained in the exploratory study. Therefore, the data obtained supports the adequacy of the multidimensional structure to the four correlated factors of the SFSS-II.
Internal consistency and item analysis
Internal consistency coefficients (Cronbach's alpha) were .89 for SFSS, .89 for factor I, .87 for factor II, .80 for factor III, and .71 for factor IV. The correlations between the factors from the SFSS-II were positive (see Table 4). All the correlations between the factors were positive and significant ranging between .18 and .56, except the correlation between factor I and IV, with the median between .25 and .30.
A classical analysis of the items was made, and the correlations of each item with the scores of their respective factor and the total score of the SFSS-II were calculated. The highest item-test correlation was .68 for item 21 (<<Vomiting at school>>), and the lowest was .16 for item 1 (<<Getting dressed for school>>). Itemsubscale correlations were acceptable, ranging from .62 to .82 (see Table 5).
Convergent and discriminant validity
The correlation coefficients of the scores of the SFSS-II with the STAIC, the FSS, and the FQ were calculated. The correlation between SFSS-II and the subscale Trait--anxiety of STAIC was .47, considered an average relationship. Thus, coefficient r of Pearson between the subscale STAIC Anxiety--state and the SFSS-II was r = .11, considered as low. The correlations with the scales of the FSS inventory were high for the factor Fear of authority (r= .58), Social Fears (r= .56) and the General Scale of Fears (r= .56) were medium for the scale Fear of separation from parents (r= .39) and low for Fear of achievement assessment (r= .29). Correlations with the FQ were r= .45 for the factor Fear of physical harm or threat from people, r= .44 with factor 7 (Social fear/1: failure and rejection), r= .38 with the factor Social fear related to unknown people and crowds, r= .37 with the factor Social fear related to violence between people. All the correlations with the other measures were statistically significant (p<.01) except with the anxiety-state (p= .04).
Two hundred and eighty five children, randomly selected, completed self-report measures in a test-retest period of 3 weeks. The ages were 8 (20 boys and 26 girls), 9 (43 boys and 45 girls), 10 (35 boys and 39 girls) and 11 (33 boys and 44 girls). Using the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC), the test-retest reliability for the complete scale SFSS-II was ICC= .83. The index for Factor 1 was ICC= .81, for Factor II ICC= .77, for Factor III ICC= .83 and for Factor IV ICC= .76.
Descriptive analysis of preadolescent school fears
The average of the total scores in the SFSS-II was 19.39 (range 0-50) and the typical deviation was 9.22. The minimum score was 2 and the maximum was 47, the average being situated at 20. The result of dividing the average score by the number of SFSS-II items was .77 (range 0-2) indicating a slight level of school fear. Variance analysis (ANOVA) of inter-subjects 2X 4 (sex and age) was made with the total scores and the scores of the four factors from the SFSS-II.
In order to examine the differences due to the age and gender variables, univariant variance analyses were carried out for each SFSS-II factor and subscales. For the total score, significant differences were found according to age ([F.sub.3,3661] = 13.67; p= .00), and gender ([F.sub.1,3663] = 89.82; p= .00), and no significant in the interaction (age x gender) ([F.sub.3,3661] = 1.51; p= .21). Post-hoc comparisons which were significant were 8 vs 10 years old, 8 vs 11 years old, 9 vs 10 and 9 vs 11. As can be observed in Figure 1, as age increases, school fears are more intense. Effect size was found to be low for the comparisons 8 vs 10 (d= -.21) and 8 vs 11 (d= -.26), 9 vs 10 (d= -.15), y 10 vs 11 years (d= -.20). With regard to the gender, the significant differences indicate that the girls show greater anxiety than boys, with a low effect size (d= -.31).
[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]
The objectives of this study were to analyze the psychometric properties of a new self-report instrument to assess school fears in children in a non clinical sample. The study provides empirical support for using the SFSS-II. Results indicate good psychometric properties, high reliability and a multidimensional structure for the questionnaire (construct validity).
Based on our findings, the SFSS-II has a multifactor structure with four factors. As previous studies have demonstrated, child fears in general (Spence, 1997), and school fears in particular (Berg, Marks, McGuire, & Lipsedge, 1974) are multi-dimensional constructs. The Alpha Coefficients indicate satisfactory values of internal consistency for the SFSS and their factors.
With regards to age and gender variables, our results support the findings of research in this area, the tendency for school fears to increase with age (Mendez, Espada, Orgiles, Hidalgo, & Garcia-Fernandez, 2008) and greater prevalence among girls (Eisen & Schaefer, 2005). Although this gender difference is usually small and is specially found in community samples, early detection should focus in girls.
The SFSS-II, in the global score as well as in the four subscales, presents high test-retest reliability. If we compare the correlation index with other fear questionnaires, we observe that SFSS-II presents equal or higher temporary stability.
The correlations with other measures reveal that the variable most associated with school fears is trait--anxiety. This result is consistent with previous studies, which also found correlation between measures of anxiety in specific situations and trait anxiety, oscillating from .36 to .72 (Muris, Meesters, & Schouten, 2002; Muris, Merckelbach, Ollendick, King, & Bogie, 2002). The correlations between SFSS and the FSS (Sosa et al., 1986) were medium, and also with the FQ (Pelechano, 1984). The most related fears were fear of authority and social fears.
The SFSS-II is an instrument of easy application and correction, since its application requires little time, and correction can be done by hand. These characteristics mean that the instrument can be used with children with anxiety symptoms who need to be assessed and treated as rapidly as possible. The main applications of this questionnaire are to help in detecting children with scholar anxiety, providing useful information about the most problematic areas.
This study presents some limitations. The sample was recruited from a school setting, so the results cannot be generalized to clinical samples. In future research it would be beneficial to verify whether the questionnaire presents the same factorial structure in children diagnosed with school phobia and its relation with other anxiety disorders in clinical samples. Also, future studies should investigate the accuracy of the SFSS-II for the screening of scholar phobia.
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Jose Manuel Garcia-Fernandez, Jose Pedro Espada Sanchez *, Mireia Orgiles Amoros * and Xavier Mendez Carrillo **
Universidad de Alicante, * Universidad Miguel Hernandez and ** Universidad de Murcia
Fecha recepcion: 22-4-09 * Fecha aceptacion: 31-10-09
Correspondencia: Jose Manuel Garcia Fernandez
Departamento de Psicologia Evolutiva y Didactica
Universidad de Alicante
03080 Alicante (Spain)
Table 1 Exploratory factor analysis of SFSS-II Item Fear of failure Fear of physical at school and discomfort punishment 14. Getting bad exam marks .83 15. Repeating school year .82 13. Failing an exam .77 18. Being sent to the head .75 19. School calls parents .70 12. Caught copying in an .68 exam 16. Changing school .60 17. Being reprimanded or .59 punished at school 22. Having stomach-ache at .81 school 24. Having headache at .78 school 20. Feeling ill at school .75 23. Feeling dizzy at school .75 21. Vomiting at school .74 25. Experiencing physical .56 discomfort at school 8. Being asked questions by the teacher 11. Doing an oral exam 9. Being called out to the blackboard 10. Doing a written exam 6. Asking questions in class 7. Reading aloud in front of the class 2. Leaving home to go to school 1. Getting dressed to go to school 3. Walking to school 5. Attending class 4. Separating from parents to go to school Item Fear of social and Anticipatory and school assessment separation anxiety 14. Getting bad exam marks 15. Repeating school year 13. Failing an exam 18. Being sent to the head 19. School calls parents 12. Caught copying in an exam 16. Changing school 17. Being reprimanded or punished at school 22. Having stomach-ache at school 24. Having headache at school 20. Feeling ill at school 23. Feeling dizzy at school 21. Vomiting at school 25. Experiencing physical discomfort at school 8. Being asked questions by .74 the teacher 11. Doing an oral exam .69 9. Being called out to the .68 blackboard 10. Doing a written exam .67 6. Asking questions in .66 class 7. Reading aloud in front .56 of the class 2. Leaving home to go to .75 school 1. Getting dressed to go to .68 school 3. Walking to school .63 5. Attending class .57 4. Separating from parents .54 to go to school NOTE: Extraction method: Analysis of principal components. Rotation method: Varimax standardization with Kaiser. Rotation has converge d in 6 iterations Table 2 Fit statistics for confirmatory factor models Model [chi square] df p RMSEA Null model 42691.4 300 .00 0.18 1--factor 18796.23 275 .00 0.14 4- factors 3564.182 275 .00 0.05 4--factors (*) 3351.18 269 .00 0.05 Model RMR GFI AGFI CFI NFI Null model 0.15 0.33 0.27 0.00 0.00 1-factor 0.05 0.58 0.50 0.56 0.56 4-factors 0.13 0.93 0.92 0.46 0.45 4-factors (*) 0.03 0.93 0.92 0.92 0.92 NOTE: (*) four correlated factors model; [chi square]: Chi-Square test; df: Degrees of freedom; p: Probability; RMSEA: Root Mean Square Error of Approximation; RMR: Root Mean Square Residual; GFI: Goodness of Fit Index; AGFI: Adjusted Goodness of Fit; CFI: Comparative Fit Index; NFI: Normed Fit Index Table 3 Confirmatory factor analysis of SFSS-II Item Fear of failure at Fear of physical school and punishment discomfort 14. Getting bad exam marks .83 15. Repeating school year .79 13. Failing an exam .79 18. Getting sent to the .74 head 19. School calls my .68 parents 12. Getting caught copying .65 in an exam 16. Changing school .58 17. Being reprimanded or .64 punished at school 22. Having stomach-ache at .79 school 24. Having headache at .76 school 20. Feeling ill at school .73 23. Feeling dizzy at .76 school 21. Vomiting at school .78 25. Experiencing physical .58 discomfort at school 8. Being asked a question by the teacher 11. Doing an oral exam 9. Being called out to the blackboard 10. Doing a written exam 6. Asking questions in class 7. Reading aloud in front of the class 2. Leaving home to go to school 1. Getting dressed for school 3. Walking to school 5. Attending class 4. Separating from my parents to go to school Note: Extraction method: Analysis of principal components. Rotation method: Varimax standardization with Kaiser. Rotation has converged in 6 iterations Item Fear of social and Anticipatory and school assessment separation anxiety 14. Getting bad exam marks 15. Repeating school year 13. Failing an exam 18. Getting sent to the head 19. School calls my parents 12. Getting caught copying in an exam 16. Changing school 17. Being reprimanded or punished at school 22. Having stomach-ache at school 24. Having headache at school 20. Feeling ill at school 23. Feeling dizzy at school 21. Vomiting at school 25. Experiencing physical discomfort at school 8. Being asked a question .70 by the teacher 11. Doing an oral exam .60 9. Being called out to the .65 blackboard 10. Doing a written exam .62 6. Asking questions in .67 class 7. Reading aloud in front .57 of the class 2. Leaving home to go to .68 school 1. Getting dressed for .55 school 3. Walking to school .57 5. Attending class .62 4. Separating from my .40 parents to go to school Note: Extraction method: Analysis of principal components. Rotation method: Varimax standardization with Kaiser. Rotation has converged in 6 iterations Table 4 Correlation coefficients of subscales of SFSS-II Fear of failure at Fear of physical school and punishment discomfort Fear of failure at school -- -- and punishment Fear of physical discomfort .558 * -- Fear of social and school .249 * .300 * assessment Anticipatory and separation .006 .183 * anxiety SFSS-II--Total .811 * .811 * Fear of social and Anticipatory and school assessment separation anxiety Fear of failure at school -- -- and punishment Fear of physical discomfort -- -- Fear of social and school -- assessment Anticipatory and separation .509 * -- anxiety SFSS-II--Total .633 * .403 * * p < .001 Table 5 Item analysis of SFSS-II Item IS-R IS-Rc IT-R IT-Rc M SD Fear of failure at school and punishment 14 .82 .77 .65 .59 1.46 .73 15 .81 .74 .58 .52 1.58 .72 13 .79 .72 .66 .60 1.39 .75 18 .79 .72 .61 .55 1.45 .76 19 .74 .66 .61 .54 1.34 .78 12 .71 .61 .57 .50 1.32 .80 17 .71 .61 .66 .61 1.02 .76 16 .67 .55 .57 .49 1.13 .85 Fear of physical discomfort 22 .82 .73 .65 .60 .73 .76 21 .81 .71 .68 .63 .85 .80 23 .81 .70 .64 .59 .92 .82 24 .80 .71 .64 .58 .68 .75 20 .78 .67 .61 .56 .82 .79 25 .68 .53 .57 .51 .72 .80 Fear of social and school assessment 8 .75 .62 .46 .41 .50 .62 10 .72 .55 .51 .44 .59 .71 11 .72 .55 .51 .45 .62 .71 6 .71 .57 .41 .37 .40 .59 9 .71 .56 .41 .36 .44 .62 7 .64 .48 .31 .26 .28 .55 Anticipatory and separation anxiety 2 .74 .56 .27 .22 .17 .44 5 .69 .46 .25 .21 .21 .49 3 .68 .47 .28 .23 .21 .49 1 .64 .43 .16 .13 .12 .40 4 .62 .34 .33 .28 .26 .54 Note: IS-R= Item-scale correlation; IS-Rc= Corrected correlation item-scale; IT-R= Item-test correlation; IT-[R.sub.c] = Corrected correlation item-test; M= Mean; SD= Standard deviation
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|Author:||Manuel Garcia-Fernandez, Jose; Pedro Espada Sanchez, Jose; Orgiles Amoros, Mireia; Mendez Carrillo,|
|Date:||Jul 1, 2010|
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