The Brief Fear of Negative Evaluation Scale (BFNE): translation and validation study of the Iranian version

Azadeh Tavoli, Mahdiyeh Melyani, Maryam Bakhtiari, GholamHossein Ghaedi and Ali Montazeri
Background: The Brief Fear of Negative Evaluation Scale (BFNE) is a commonly used instrument to measure social anxiety. This study aimed to translate and to test the reliability and validity of the BFNE in Iran.
Methods: The English language version of the BFNE was translated into Persian (Iranian language) and was used in this study. The questionnaire was administered to a consecutive sample of 235 students with (n = 33, clinical group) and without social phobia (n = 202, non-clinical group). In addition to the BFNE, two standard instruments were used to measure social phobia severity: the Social Phobia Inventory (SPIN), and the Social Interaction Anxiety Scale (SIAS). All participants completed a brief background information questionnaire, the SPIN, the SIAS and the BFNE scales. Statistical analysis was performed to test the reliability and validity of the BFNE.
Results: In all 235 students were studied (111 male and 124 female). The mean age for non-clinical group was 22.2 (SD = 2.1) years and for clinical sample it was 22.4 (SD = 1.8) years. Cronbach’s alpha coefficient (to test reliability) was acceptable for both non-clinical and clinical samples (α = 0.90 and 0.82 respectively). In addition, 3-week test-retest reliability was performed in non-clinical sample and the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) was quite high (ICC = 0.71). Validity as performed using convergent and discriminant validity showed satisfactory results. The questionnaire correlated well with established measures of social phobia such as the SPIN (r = 0.43, p < 0.001) and the SIAS (r = 0.54, p < 0.001). Also the BFNE discriminated well between men and women with and without social phobia in the expected direction. Factor analysis supported a two- factor solution corresponding to positive and reverse-worded items. Conclusion: This validation study of the Iranian version of BFNE proved that it is an acceptable, reliable and valid measure of social phobia. However, since the scale showed a two-factor structure and this does not confirm to the theoretical basis for the BFNE, thus we suggest the use of the BFNE-II when it becomes available in Iran. The validation study of the BFNE-II is in progress.
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