Shyness Scale (SS)


This Shyness Scale (SS) measure is also referred to as the McCroskey Shyness Scale. It was developed to obtain individual’s self-report of their shy behavior. Unlike many shyness scales that have been developed in the field of Psychology, this scale does not confound communication apprehension  with shy behavior. These are two very different constructs and adding items from both provide an uninterpretable score. Communication apprehension relates to fear and/or anxiety about communicating. Willingness to Communicate (WTC) relates to an orientation to initiate communication. Shyness relates to the actual communication behavior of reduced talking.


This measure has generated high alpha reliability estimates (>.90) and has excellent face validity. Research has indicated that it also has high predictive validity-distinct from either communication apprehension or willingness to communicate measures.

Author of Tool:

McCroskey, J. C., & Richmond, V. P.

Key references:

McCroskey, J. C., & Richmond, V. P. (1982). Communication apprehension and shyness: Conceptual and operational distinctions. Central States Speech Journal, 33, 458-468.

Primary use / Purpose:

Measure of shyness – actual communication behaviour of reduced talking

Shyness Scale (SS)

Directions: Below are fourteen statements that people sometimes make about themselves. Please indicate whether or not you believe each statement applies to you by marking whether you:

Strongly Disagree = 1; Disagree = 2; Neutral = 3; Agree = 4; Strongly Agree = 5

  1. I am a shy person.
  2. Other people think I talk a lot.
  3. I am a very talkative person.
  4. Other people think I am shy.
  5. I talk a lot.
  6. I tend to be very quiet in class.
  7. I don’t talk much.
  8. I talk more than most people.
  9. I am a quiet person.
  10. I talk more in a small group (3-6) than others do.
  11. Most people talk more than I do.
  12. Other people think I am very quiet.
  13. I talk more in class than most people do.
  14. Most people are more shy than I am.


Please score your responses as follows:

Step 1. Add the scores for items 1, 4, 6, 7, 9, 11, and 12.

Step 2. Add the scores for items 2, 3, 5, 8, 10, 13, and 14.

Step 3. Complete the following formula: Shyness = 42 plus Total of Step 1 minus Total of Step 2.

Your score should be between 14 and 20. Scores above 52 indicate a high level of shyness. Scores below 32 indicate a low level of shyness. Scores between 32 and 52 indicate a moderate level of shyness.