Commonly, clinical measures of children’s anxiety focus on the assessment of disorder symptoms to support formal diagnoses. This has led to assessments of anxiety symptom impact or “anxiety life interference” becoming less common, despite reductions in these impairments contributing to clients’ treatment satisfaction (Lyneham, et. al., 2013). Consequently, the Child Anxiety Life Interference Scale (CALIS; Lyneham, et. al., 2013) was developed to provide a psychometrically supported method of evaluating the impact that children’s anxiety has on their life, as well as on the life of their parents.
Developed at the Centre for Emotional Health at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, the CALIS consists of one 10-item scale administered to children, and two 9-item scales administered to parents. The scale administered to children evaluates self-reported anxiety life interference; the scales administered to parents evaluate child anxiety life interference relative to the child’s life, and child anxiety life interference relative to the parents’ life. All items, which relate to common activities (e.g. “being with friends outside of school” or “your career choice”), are rated on a five-point Likert scale (0 = not at all, 4 = a great deal), with higher scores indicating higher anxiety life interference.
Currently, psychometric data for the CALIS is based exclusively on one evaluative study (Lyneham, et. al., 2013); this study administered the scale to 622 Australian or American children with anxiety disorders, aged between 6 and 17 years.
According to this study, the CALIS demonstrates moderate internal consistency, with Cronbach’s Alphas ranging from .84 for children to .90 for mothers. The CALIS also demonstrates moderate inter-rater reliability between parents and children, which is consistent with previous studies that have identified differences in children and parents’ perceptions of anxiety (Niditch & Varela, 2011). Lastly, the CALIS demonstrates strong test-retest reliability; pre- and post-waitlist administrations of the CALIS produced significant correlations.
The use of the CALIS in clinical settings is supported by psychometric data that indicates that it is a significant, valid and reliable measure of anxiety life interference. The CALIS contributes to the development of a comprehensive understanding of a child’s experience of anxiety by using multiple raters to evaluate its impact across multiple activities. Additionally, the CALIS can be used to inform treatment decisions by indicating the domains in which a child is most significantly impaired, as well as provide an indication of overall treatment efficacy. However, due to limited evaluations of the scale’s psychometric properties, the CALIS should be used and interpreted with caution; limited data relating to the impact that cultural differences may have on psychometric properties. Furthermore, Lyneham et. al. (2013) advise that the CALIS be used in conjunction with symptom-specific scales, as it cannot independently support a diagnosis of anxiety.
CALIS freely available from: http://www.mq.edu.au/
Lyneham, H., Sburlati, E., Abbott, M., Rapee, R., Hudson, J., Tolin, D., & Carlson, S. (2013). Psychometric properties of the Child Anxiety Life Interference Scale (CALIS). Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 27(7), 711-9. doi: 10.1016/j.janxdis.2013.09.008
Niditch, L., & Varela, R. (2011). Mother-child disagreement in reports of child anxiety: Effects of child age and maternal anxiety. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 25(3), 450-5. doi: 10.1016/j.janxdis.2010.11.009