Development of the Perth Adolescent Worry Scale (PAWS)

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Tools to assess worry among adolescents exist but do not capture the content of worries. This study reports on the development of a brief, psychometrically sound measure of worry for use with adolescents. Phase 1 involved identification of 27 potential items from existing instruments as well as item generation identified in interviews with students, teachers, school psychologists, and parents. In Phase 2, the candidate items were completed by 835 Australian adolescents (317 males, 508 females, 10 unspecified; Mean age = 13.55, SD = 1.31) from Grades 5 to 10. These data were randomly split in half, and an exploratory factor analysis on the first half identified a two-factor solution with 12 items: Peer Relationships (6 items) and Academic Success and the Future (6 items). On the second half of the data, confirmatory factor analyses supported the factor structure and supported strong invariance across age, socioeconomic status, and presence/absence of a diagnosed neurodevelopmental disorder. Weak invariance was evident across sex. Differences across groups are reported as are correlations with indicators of psychological wellbeing. In conclusion, the Perth Adolescent Worry Scale provides both applied professionals and researchers with a short, easy-to-administer, and psychometrically strong instrument to evaluate adolescents’ everyday worries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)521-535
Number of pages15
JournalResearch on Child and Adolescent Psychopathology
Issue number4
Early online date20 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022


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