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J Psychopathol Behav Assess. 2015 Jun;37(2):306-317. Epub 2014 Sep 5.

Assessing the Straightforwardly-Worded Brief Fear of Negative Evaluation Scale for Differential Item Functioning Across Gender and Ethnicity.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, USA.
2
Department of Psychology, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, USA.
3
Department of Psychology, Ohio University, Athens, OH, USA.
4
Department of Psychology, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
5
Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY, USA.

Abstract

The Brief Fear of Negative Evaluation Scale (BFNE; Leary Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 9, 371-375, 1983) assesses fear and worry about receiving negative evaluation from others. Rodebaugh et al. Psychological Assessment, 16, 169-181, (2004) found that the BFNE is composed of a reverse-worded factor (BFNE-R) and straightforwardly-worded factor (BFNE-S). Further, they found the BFNE-S to have better psychometric properties and provide more information than the BFNE-R. Currently there is a lack of research regarding the measurement invariance of the BFNE-S across gender and ethnicity with respect to item thresholds. The present study uses item response theory (IRT) to test the BFNE-S for differential item functioning (DIF) related to gender and ethnicity (White, Asian, and Black). Six data sets consisting of clinical, community, and undergraduate participants were utilized (N=2,109). The factor structure of the BFNE-S was confirmed using categorical confirmatory factor analysis, IRT model assumptions were tested, and the BFNE-S was evaluated for DIF. Item nine demonstrated significant non-uniform DIF between White and Black participants. No other items showed significant uniform or non-uniform DIF across gender or ethnicity. Results suggest the BFNE-S can be used reliably with men and women and Asian and White participants. More research is needed to understand the implications of using the BFNE-S with Black participants.

KEYWORDS:

Differential item functioning; Fear of negative evaluation; Item response theory; Measurement invariance; Social anxiety disorder

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