Developing a Brief Version of the Social Thoughts and Beliefs Scale (STABS) Using Item Response Theory

Itamar Stein, Maya Asher, Shahaf Erez, Tomer Shechner, Sofi Marom, Haggai Hermesh, Idan M. Aderka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cognitions play a central role in the maintenance of social anxiety disorder (SAD). The aim of the present study was to develop a brief version of the social thoughts and beliefs scale (STABS) that can be used in clinical trials and experience sampling studies in which multiple repeated measures (e.g., weekly or daily measurements) are utilized. Our sample (n = 361) included both individuals diagnosed with SAD (n = 108) and non-anxious controls (n = 253). We used item response theory analyses to examine items of the STABS and kept only items which differentiated between 4 levels of SAD-related cognitions between the 5th and 95th percentiles of scores. This strategy resulted in a brief, seven-item scale—the mini-STABS. We then compared the mini-STABS with the full-length, 21-item STABS, as well as examined convergent and divergent validity for the brief measure. Results indicated that the mini-STABS was highly correlated with the 21-item STABS, and demonstrated similar patterns of associations with convergent and divergent measures compared to the 21-item STABS. These findings suggest that the mini-STABS is a psychometrically sound brief version of the STABS that provides similar information using fewer items. Implications for assessment of SAD are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)792-801
Number of pages10
JournalCognitive Therapy and Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - 15 Aug 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


  • Cognitions
  • Item response theory (IRT)
  • Social anxiety disorder (SAD)
  • Social thoughts and beliefs scale (STABS)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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