The Revised Children’s Manifest Anxiety Scale (RCMAS)

 “What I Think and Feel”

Type of Instrument:

The RCMAS is a 37-item self-report inventory used to measure anxiety in children, for clinical purposes (diagnosis and treatment evaluation), educational settings, and for research purposes. The RCMAS consists of 28 Anxiety items and 9 Lie (social desirability) items. Each item is purported to embody a feeling or action that reflects an aspect of anxiety, hence the subtitle, “What I think and Feel”. It is a relatively brief instrument, which has been subjected to extensive study to ensure that it is psychometrically sound. However, it is also advisable that the RCMAS only be used as part of a complete clinical evaluation when diagnosing and treating a child’s anxiety (Gerard and Reynolds, 1999, p.323).


Devised By:

The Revised Children’s Manifest Anxiety Scale was developed by Reynolds and Richmond (1978) to assess “the degree and quality of anxiety experienced by children and adolescents” (Gerald and Reynolds, 1999, p. 323). It is based on the Children’s Manifest Anxiety Scale (CMAS), which was devised by Casteneda, McCandless and Palermo (1956). The Revised version of the CMAS deletes, adds and reorders items from the CMAS to meet psychometric standards. Reynolds and Richmond (1978) also renamed the instrument, “What I Think and Feel”, although subsequent papers primarily refer to it as the Revised Children’s Manifest Anxiety Scale (RCMAS).

·        History of Development:

Castaneda, McCandless and Palermo (1956) first reported a scale with standardised data, which could be used to measure anxiety in children, the Children’s Manifest Anxiety Scale (CMAS). The CMAS was based on a trait theory of anxiety. It was an amended version of an instrument used to measure manifest anxiety in adults, Taylor’s (1951) Manifest Anxiety Scale. The Manifest Anxiety Scale was a compilation of items from the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory.

While the CMAS was widely used and published, Reynolds and Richmond (1978) reported a number of issues with the CMAS that prompted the revision. Reynolds and Richmond (1978) hoped to revise the CMAS to identify items that meet Flannigan, Peters and Conry’s (1969) “criteria for a good test item” (p.272), to improve the psychometric properties of the instrument (according to Guilford, 1954), and to meet the American Psychological Association (1954) guidelines for psychological tests.

Reynolds and Paget (1981) also noted the need to develop an instrument that could measure a broader range of anxiety and treatment effects, and that could reflect research that suggests that “anxiety is multidimensional” (, p352). Reynolds and Richmond (1978) also wanted a scale that could be administered in less time, with individuals or groups of children, aged from 6 to 19 years. The wording of items had to be adjusted to accommodate the younger children and poor readers.


Several types of reliability can be demonstrated with the RCMAS, in terms of the internal consistency of the instrument, stability, and possibly equivalence, but not in terms of the inter-rater reliability. Reynolds and other researches have focused on developing an instrument that was psychometrically sound and that could be used by a variety of practitioners (clinicians, teachers and researchers), without attention to potential variations with application or interpretation in its use.


·        Split-Half/Cronbach’s Alpha:     

Reynolds and Richmond (1978) argue that the 33 % reduction in the length of the CMAS scale and reduction in administration time does not detract from the reliability of the RCMAS. The Kuber-Richardson (KR) analysis of variance method was used to establish coefficients of internal consistency. Reynolds and Richmond (1978) report that with the 37 items selected for the RCMAS, a KR20 reliability estimate of .83 is yielded, confirming internal consistency of the RCMAS.

When making technical recommendations for psychological tests and diagnostic techniques, the APA (1954) note the risks associated with computing reliability and validity estimates on the same sample analysed to select the test items. Hence, Reynolds and Richmond (1978) conducted a second, cross-validation assessment of 167 children, from grades two, five, nine, ten and eleven, in a different school district. This second assessment group yielded a KR20 reliability estimate of .85, and further support for internal consistency.

Reynolds, Bradley and Steele (1980) administered the RCMAS to 97 kindergarten children and demonstrated reliability with coefficient alpha (a =  .79 with males,   a =.85 with females, and a =.82 for the total sample). These correlations are high and similarly indicate internal consistency when the RCMAS is used with younger children.

Gerard and Reynolds (1999) also report that with few exceptions, relatively high coefficients alpha for the total Anxiety Scale score (a = .80 range), are indicative of “good sampling of the general domain of potential anxiety items” (p.327) and internal consistency according to Cronbach (1951).


·        Test-Retest Reliability:

Wisniewski, Mulick, Genshaft and Coury (1987) examined the test-retest reliabilities of the RCMAS with 161 children in Grades 6 to 8. Analyses of retesting after one and five weeks indicated “good reliability” (Pearson correlations from .60 to .88, significant at p £ .01, p. 67) and an insignificant difference between test and retest mean raw scores. These results would support the stability of the scale over brief periods.

With retesting after a substantial longer period, nine months, Reynolds (1981) found a .68 correlation between RCMAS Anxiety Scale scores and a .58 correlation with the Lie Scale scores, for 534 children in Grades 4 to 6. This would be indicative of relatively high temporal stability.


·        Alternate Form Reliability:        

The establishment of temporal , test-retest reliability negates the need to use alternate forms in many instances.

However, favourable comparisons can be made between the reliability coefficients with the RCMAS and the CMAS. Reynolds and Richmond (1978) report KR20  reliability estimate of .83 with the RCMAS and cite comparative estimates with the CMAS. In particular, Kitano (1960) reported a reliability coefficient of .86; Finch, Montgomery and Deardoff (1974) of .77; and by Allison (1970) of .84 for boys and .88 for girls. However, there may be some question about whether the RCMAS and the CMAS are different tests or different forms of an instrument (one an abbreviated and arguably an improved version, and one a longer version, respectively).


·        Inter-rater Reliability:

With Reynolds and Paget (1981), the 4,972 children were variously tested by clinical psychologists, school psychologists, classroom teachers and school administrators. However, this is primarily a self-report measure and no statistical comparisons were made regarding the different raters.



There is substantive research confirming the validity of the RCMAS as a measure of chronic manifest anxiety in children, dating back to the original article reporting the development of the RCMAS (Reynolds and Richmond, 1978). In addition, the RCMAS is frequently used in research to validate other instruments and to measure treatment effects.


·        Content Validity:

In the draft version of the RCMAS, Reynolds and Richmond (1978) added twenty items to cover areas that teachers and clinicians identified as not being covered by the previous scale. The wording of the resultant 73 items was modified by reading specialists, to meet the reading level of Grade three children and to reflect general changes in word usage since the test was first released.

Two item statistics were computed for the 73 draft items, the difficulty index, p, and biserial correlation of the item to the total test score, rbis. With the Anxiety Scale, items were eliminated if they did not meet both criteria, with the difficulty index (.3 £ p £ .7) and with biserial correlation (rbis ³ .4). Lie Scale items were eliminated if they correlated .30 or higher with the anxiety scale or if they failed to correlate significantly with any other lie item.

A total of 28 anxiety items (25 from the CMAS and three new items), and nine Lie items were retained to form the current 37 items of the RCMAS. The results would suggest that the 28 anxiety items that were finally selected, adequately represent all aspects of the anxiety construct, thereby indicating content validity.


·        Construct Validity:

Reynolds and Richmond (1979 ) conducted a factor analysis with the Anxiety Scale items, with the test development sample of the RCMAS. Three anxiety factors were identified and named, based on item content: “physiological”, “worry/oversensitivity”, and “concentration.” However, there were a number of anomalies with the results that were attributed to the small sample size of 329 subjects compared with the 28 variables.

Reynolds and Paget (1981) attempted to replicate Reynolds and Richmond’s (1979) study with a much larger sample size of 4,972 children, and to extend the analysis to the Lie Scale items. Responses were factor analysed through the method of principal factors, which identified a large general factor on which substantive loadings were found for all 28 Anxiety Scale items but no loadings above .21 for the Lie Scale items. This would lend support to the RCMAS being a measure of one construct, anxiety (Ag).

Factors extracted through the factor analysis were then rotated orthogonally through the varimax procedure, to maximise the variance accounted for by each factor and to increase the distinction between factors. Examination of Scree plots and eigenvalues identified three to eight factors, but further analysis and examination of the item content of the factorial groupings indicated the five factor solution as the most psychologically meaningful and interpretable solution.

The pattern of factor loadings with the five-factor solution revealed two Lie Scale factors (accounting for 75% and 25% of the variance) and the three distinct Anxiety Scale factors (accounting for 34%, 42% & 24% of the variance). The three Anxiety Scale factors identified by Reynolds and Paget (1981) also resembled the three found by Reynolds and Richmond (1979) but without the anomalies found in the earlier research.

Further analysis and additional research has found that the five-factor solution is consistent across gender, ethnicity (race), and intelligence (Gerard and Reynolds, 1999).

The five factors confirmed by Reynolds and Paget (1981) are as follows:

Anxiety Scale Factors:                                      Item Numbers

The Physiological Factor                                1, 5, 9, 13, 17, 19, 21, 25, 29, 33

The Worry/Oversensitivity Factor                  2, 6, 7, 10, 14, 18, 22, 26, 30, 34, 37

The Concentration Anxiety Factor                 3, 11, 15, 23, 27, 31, 35

Lie Scale Factors:

            Lie 1                                                    4, 8, 12, 16, 20, 24

            Lie 2                                                    28, 32, 36


Reynolds and Paget (1981) calculated two indices of factorial similarity, the coefficient of congruence (rc, Harman, 1976; Mulaik, 1971) and the salient variable similarity index (s , Cattell, 1978). Reynolds and Paget (1981) reported rc’s  ranging from .91 to .99, and highly significant s-values  (p < .01), which would suggest that the five factors were invariant in relation to gender or race (ethnicity).

The same invariance was found with the general anxiety factor (Ag) which would lend support to the construct validity of the RCMAS, or the internal consistency of the RCMAS. Reynolds and Paget (1981) indicated the need for further analysis of the internal validity of the RCMAS and that they were currently preparing normative data across gender, race and age (see Reynolds and Paget, 1983).

Pina, Silverman, Saavedra and Weems (2001) analysed the RCMAS Lie Scale with 284 anxious children. Results indicated that the Lie Scale scores were also predictive of the children’s anxiety levels, and that they could distinguish between children with anxiety disorders and children with externalising disorders. Hence, the Lie Scale was said to have utility in terms of predicting a child’s anxiety level.

Debate in the literature also tends to lend support to the Lie Scale being a measure of social desirability in anxiety, especially with younger children (Reynolds and Richmond, 1978). Dadds, Perrin and Yule (1998) report indications that social desirability levels partly explain the discrepancies found between child and adult reports of anxiety in youth. Hagborg (1991) also reported favourable findings that support the concurrent validity of the RCMAS Lie Scale as a measure of social desirability.

Using concept mapping and confirmatory factor analysis, White and Farrell (2001) compared the empirically derived factor structure of the RCMAS with “theory-driven models derived from 8 experts on child anxiety” (p.333), with 898 Grade 7 children, primarily black Americans (94%). White and Farrell (2001) report analyses that identify three-factor models with both the RCMAS and the expert-derived model (anxious arousal, social evaluation-oversensitivity and worry). However, empirical support for a higher order factor was only found with the expert-derived model, which excluded items of dysphoric mood. White and Farrell (2001) argue that the RCMAS includes items that are “related to a construct or dimension that resembles dysphoric mood” (p.336).

There are some limitations with White and Farrell’s (2001) study, including the narrow age range (10.8 to 14.1 years), similar ethnicity of the subjects (94% African American or black), and subjects who also report lower levels of anxiety compared to the standardised sample. Such limitations would limit generalisability of White and Farrell’s (2001) results. However, White and Farrell (2001) also claim that the expert-derived model can meaningfully contribute towards improving our understanding of the assessment of anxiety using the RCMAS. White and Farrell (2001) suggest that future research consider refining the domains assessed by the RCMAS, and possibly including domains reflecting anxious apprehension and behavioural avoidance, as indicated by the experts.


·        Convergent or Concurrent Validity:

While investigating the construct validity of the RCMAS, Reynolds (1982) also found large positive correlations between the RCMAS and the trait measure of anxiety, the STAIC, but not with the state measures of anxiety. These findings are consistent with earlier findings by Reynolds (1980), who found high correlations between the RCMAS and STAIC trait (r  = .85, p £ .05) but not with STAIC state measures (r  = .24, p > .05).

Reynolds (1985) replicated these results with a sample of 465 gifted children (IQ’s higher than 130), who tended to score significantly lower on all measures of anxiety compared with normative samples. The convergent and divergent validity of the RCMAS was assessed in relation to measures of trait and state anxiety with the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory for Children (STAIC). Reynolds (1985) found that the RCMAS scores correlated highly with a Trait Anxiety scale (r = .78, p < .001) but not with a State Anxiety scale (r = .08). This would lend support for the convergent and divergent validity of the RCMAS.

Lee, Piersel, Friedlander and Collamer (1988) examined the concurrent validity of the RCMAS with ninety 13 to 17 year olds, and found that it correlated well with a similar measure of anxiety using the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory.

However, Lee, Piersel and Unruh (1989) evaluated the concurrent validity of the RCMAS Physiological subscale with parent and teacher behavioural ratings of anxiety/somatic complaints, depression and aggression with eighty 10 to 17 year old males who had academic or behavioural problems. In contrast to earlier (and later) findings, Lee et al (1989) found a lack of convergent and discriminant validity between the RCMAS and behavioural ratings. This anomaly might reflect problems with the alternative comparative measure used in this study, the behaviour ratings, and the different perspective of adults and children.

Muris, Merckelbach, Mayer, van Brakel, Thissen, Moulaert and Gadget (1998) compared the Screen for Child Anxiety Related Emotional Disorders (SCARED), the Fear Survey Schedule for Children – Revised (FSSC-R) and the RCMAS. They found that scores on all three tests were positively related, in a theoretically meaningful manner, and hence evidence of concurrent validity.

Muris, Merckelbach, Ollendick, King and Bogie (2002) examined the psychometric properties of six anxiety scales to be used with children: the RCMAS; the trait anxiety version of the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory for Children (STAIC); the Fear Survey Schedule for Children – Revised (FSSC-R); the Multidimensional Anxiety Scale for Children (MASC); the Screen for Child Anxiety Related Emotional Disorders (SCARED); and the Spence Children’s Anxiety Scale (SCAS).

With a sample of 521 “normal adolescents” (p. 753), Muris et al (2002) found that the childhood anxiety scales were reliable in terms of internal consistency (Cronbach’s alphas generally well above .60). Convergent validity was indicated by the substantial correlations between the anxiety scores on the six questionnaires. Particularly strong correlations were found between the RCMAS and the STAIC (r = 0.88), and between the RCMAS and the SCARED  (r = 0.85), which would suggest that they are likely to be tapping highly similar or the same construct(s). Correlations between the RCMAS and the FSSC-R were said to be moderate (r = 0.63), with suggestions that the FSSC-R was tapping slightly different aspects of anxiety (such as specific fears and phobias).

Muris et al  (2002) found that the RCMAS, the STAIC, the SCARED and the SCAB all correlated highly with an index of depression (CDI), (r ‘s in the .70 range), and slightly less correlations between the CDI and the other two anxiety measures, the FSSC-R and the MASC. This would be indicative of considerable overlap between anxiety, as indexed by these measures of anxiety and depression. However, the correlations between the six anxiety scales in Muris et al’s (2002) study were higher than the correlations between the anxiety scales and the depression measure, which “underlines the divergent validity of the childhood anxiety measures” (p.767).  

Muris et al (2002) conclude that the six questionnaires all have satisfactory psychometric properties. The only differentiating factor between the new and old anxiety scales might be the new scales’ closer links with the DSM diagnostic system, which could assist clinical communications about anxiety problems with children (citing Chorpita, Yim, Moffit, Umemoto and Francis, 2000).


·        Discriminant Validity:

Reynolds and Richmond (1978) note that “evidence of discriminant validity will be necessary for the revised instrument” but that it was not yet available (p.278).

Mattison, Bagnato and Brubaker (1988) studied the clinical relevance of the RCMAS as a tool used to discriminate between children with a DSM-III anxiety disorder and other DSM-III psychiatric diagnoses. They found that the RCMAS Worry/Oversensitivity subfactor of the Anxiety Scale can significantly discriminate between those children who have a diagnosable anxiety disorder and those children who do not have an anxiety disorder. The use of the RCMAS was recommended by Mattison, Bagnato and Brubaker (1988) as part a multi-method of assessment for identifying children with anxiety disorders. Accordingly, the RCMAS could be considered useful as a diagnostic tool and for screening those children who may be in need of counselling.

Perrin and Last (1992) compared discriminant validity of the RCMAS, the Modified State-Trait Anxiety Inventory for Children (STAIC-M) and the Fear Survey Schedule for Children – Revised (FSSC-R). With their sample of  213 youth, Perrin and Last (1992) found that the FSSC-R could not discriminate but the RCMAS and the STAIC-M could distinguish  between youth who had never been given a psychiatric diagnosis and those who had a diagnosis. The discriminate failure with FSSC-R may reflect anomalies noted with the FSSC-R in Muris et al’s (2002) study, in particular, that the FSSC-R may be tapping into slightly different aspects of anxiety. Furthermore, while the RCMAS and STAIC-M could distinguish between who had a diagnosable problem and those who did not, they could not distinguish between who had a diagnosis of an anxiety disorder or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). This would indicate the need for some caution and the importance of the RCMAS being used as part of a clinical assessment.

Dierker, Albano, Clarke, Heimberg, Kendall, Merikangas, Lewinsohn, Offord, Kessler and Kupfer (2001) examined the disrciminative accuracy of three rating scales for detecting anxiety and depression with children (the RCMAS; the Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression Scale or CES-D; and the Multidimensional Anxiety Scale for Children or MASC). Scores with the three scales were compared with diagnostic interviews for 632 youth. The MASC scores were said to be “most strongly associated” with individual anxiety disorders, and the CES-D composite score was linked with a diagnosis of a major depression, while the RCMAS was said to be the least successful tool for discriminating between anxiety and depression.

Stark and Laurent’s (2001) used a joint factor analysis with the RCMAS and the Children’s Depression Inventory (CDI) to identify which items uniquely identified depression and anxiety with 750 children in Grades 4 to 7. Stark and Laurent (2001) identified an abbreviated version of the scales (with nine unique depression items and seven unique anxiety items, which was validated with a separate sample of 131 students. Stark and Laurent (2001) also suggested the need to explore alternative ways to score the RCMAS and CDI to eliminate potential problems with overlapping items.

The results of research by Perrin and Last (1992), Dierker et al (2001) and Stark and Laurent (2001) indicate the need for caution and further research with respect to the discriminant validity of the RCMAS to distinguish between anxiety and depression in children. It may be as White and Farrell (2001) suggest, the RCMAS needs further refinement and possibly the exclusion of items which relate to dysphoric mood or items which tap into depression.

·        Criterion (or Predictive) Validity:

Hadwin, Frost, French and Richards (1997) found in a sample of 40 children aged 7 to 9 years, that levels of anxiety as measured by the RCMAS, could significantly predict the children’s interpretations of ambiguous stimuli as threatening.

Stallard, Velleman, Langsford and Baldwin (2001) conducted a univariate analysis of variance to determine whether the number of coping strategies used by children involved in everyday traffic accidents was affected by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), the child’s age or gender, the presence of depression in the child, or the presence of anxiety in the child (as measured by the RCMAS). They found that only the child’s age and PTSD were significantly linked to the number of coping strategies used, not anxiety. A logistic regression analysis also found that anxiety measured by the RCMAS was not predictive of PTSD at six-weeks post accident. Gender was found to be independently predictive of PTSD.

Future research might consider the predictive validity of anxiety, as measured by the RCMAS, on academic achievement. Gaudry and Spielberger (1971) found a negative relationship between anxiety and academic achievement, but it seems performance and achievement has a more complex relationship with anxiety. There is also the interactive effect of intelligence to be considered when making any predictions about academic or vocational success.

Another consideration for future investigations would be the interactive effect of anxiety and group membership (such as ethnicity or gender) when predicting behavioural problems or future adjustment in children.



The RCMAS is suitable for individual or group administration, by clinicians, researchers or teachers, with 6 to 19 year old children. The scale is best read out to children in Grades one and two (or to children who have an equivalent reading age). Grade three and older children need to be monitored carefully as they read the items themselves, with explanations given for words that they do not understand.

Reynolds and Richmond (1978) advocate for the use of the RCMAS with children in Grades three to twelve, and more tentatively (“probably satisfactory”, p. 279), for Grades one and two, or with children functioning intellectually in that lower range.

Caution is recommended for the younger children because of the relatively higher Lie Scale scores (Reynolds and Richmond, 1978). Reynolds, Bradley and Steele (1980) found that the younger age group understand and respond reliably when the items are read to them.


Scoring Method and Interpretations of results:

Each item is given a score of one for a “yes” response, yielding a Total Anxiety score (Ag). Three empirically derived Anxiety Subscales scores (Physiological Anxiety, Worry/Oversensitivity, and Social Concerns/Concentration) and Lie Scale scores can be calculated. The Lie scale is best thought of as a social desirability scale as it does not directly and conclusively detect “lying”.

Stallard, Velleman, Langsford and Baldwin (2001) recommend that an overall cut-off point of 19 out of 28 be used to identify children experiencing clinically significant levels of anxiety (p.200).

Reynolds and Richmond (1978) suggest that scores within one standard deviation of the mean, at the appropriate grade level, be used to indicate scoring within the normal range of variability (see below for norms of means and standard deviations or sources for norms).

Scores falling at least one standard deviation from the mean (T ³ 60) are thought to be of clinical interest. However, T-scores above 70 should be interpreted with caution. The child’s response pattern should be examined with respect to a problematic pattern of endorsement or reading difficulties.

High scores on the sub-scales can represent different aspects of anxiety, which can be used to develop hypotheses about the origin and nature of a child’s anxiety.

(1)   High scores on the Physiological Factor (items 1, 5, 9, 13, 17, 19, 21, 25, 29, 33) can indicate physiological signs of anxiety (eg sweaty hands, stomach aches).

(2)   High scores on the Worry/Oversensitivity Factor  (items 2, 6, 7, 10, 14, 18, 22, 26, 30, 34, 37) would suggest that the child internalises their experiences of anxiety and that he or she may feel overwhelmed and withdraw.

(3)   High scores on the Concentration Anxiety Factor  (items 3, 11, 15, 23, 27, 31, 35) would suggest that the child is likely to feel that he or she is unable to meet the expectations of other important people, inadequate and unable to concentrate on tasks.



·        Standardisation:

Standardisation sample populations for the RCMAS are thought to be large, diverse and representative.

Reynolds and Richmond (1978) computed means and standard deviations (SD) for 329 school age children., who were all tested on the same day. The researchers were not given permission to collect data about the socio-economic status of the children, but to ensure representation of the sample, there was random selection of classes at each grade level from an urban school district. However, Reynolds and Richmond (1978) also note the need for further study to determine the generalizability of the instrument to other populations.

Reynolds and Paget (1981) tested 4,972 children, aged six to nineteen years, from thirteen different states in the USA and eighty school districts. While socio-economic data was also not available to Reynolds and Paget (1981), they argued that their sample was representative of cross-section of the school attending population because rural and urban areas were equally represented, including inner city and high poverty districts; and specific neighbourhoods with “known SES composition to ensure the representative nature of the sample” (p.353).

Reynolds and Paget (1983) also note that the 4,972 children aged 6 to 19 years, from thirteen states in the USA, are representative of all geographic regions in the USA. From the data, Reynolds and Paget (1983) established separate norms for gender, race and age for the three Anxiety subscales, the two Lie Scales and the total Anxiety Scale. Using the method of rolling weighted averages standard score distributions were derived from the raw score distributions, whereby a Total Anxiety score becomes a T-score with a mean of 50 and a standard deviation of 10. The subscale scores have a mean of 10 and standard deviations of 3.


·        Means and Standard Deviations - Sources:

(1)   Mertin, Dibnah, Crosbie & Bulkeley (2001)

        British Sample (8 to 12 year olds)

Mertin, Dibnah, Crosbie and Bulkeley (2001) questioned the applicability of North American norms with the RCMAS to a British population. By computing means by age and gender, for 575 English children aged 8 to 12 years, Mertin et al (2001) found that eight year old English girls were less anxious than their North American equivalent; and that most English males were less anxious than their North American equivalent. Mertin et al (2001) also note language differences and advise that the RCMAS be used as part of a structured interview rather than as a self-report questionnaire.

(2)   Reynolds and Paget (1981; 1983)

– North American Sample (6 to 19 year olds)

(3)   Reynolds, Bradley & Steele (1980)

- Preliminary Norms North American Sample (kindergarten age

(4)   Reynolds and Richmond (1978)

– North American sample (6 to 19 year olds)

Reynolds and Richmond (1978) data:

The Anxiety Scale              Mean = 13.84            SD = 5.79

The Lie Scale                     Mean = 3.56               SD = 2.37

Reynolds and Richmond (1978) suggest that scores within one standard deviation of the mean, at the appropriate grade level, be used to indicate scoring within the normal range of variability. Reynolds and Richmond (1978, p.276) also note that the Anxiety scale correlated significantly with the Lie scale, r(327) = .15; p £ .01.

Means and SD were also obtained for the RCMAS by Grade, Race and Gender (Reynolds and Richmond, 1978, Tables II and III, pp. 276-277):

                              Anxiety Scale                                       Lie Scale

                              Mean   SD                   N                     Mean   SD      


1                13.70   4.85                 23                    6.00     1.95

2                16.13   6.42                 30                    4.63     2.55

3                12.78   6.50                 32                    3.97     2.18

4                16.64   5.70                 28                    2.25     1.65

5                12.52   5.33                 33                    2.70     2.47

5                13.82   5.28                 28                    4.18     2.04

6                11.85   5.27                 26                    1.93     1.67

8                14.50   5.22                 30                    2.57     1.87

9                13.25   6.27                 40                    3.70     1.84

10              13.23   5.85                 22                    3.68     2.48

11              13.96   5.87                 28                    3.68     2.75

12              13.67   4.58                 9                      4.33     2.29


      Females            14.97   5.60                 173                  3.66     2.45

      Males               12.58   5.75                 156                  3.45     2.28


      Blacks              14.09   5.30                 172                  4.02     2.09

            Whites              13.56   6.29                 157                  3.06     2.56

With the Anxiety Scale and the Lie Scale, Reynolds and Richmond (1978) computed a three way ANOVA for grade, race and gender, and submitted the variances to separate F tests. With the Anxiety Scale, no significant effect was found for grade or race, but females scored significantly higher than males (F (1,283) = 10.87; p £ .001), (p277). This may reflect speculation that females more readily admit to anxiety than males (Sarason, Davidson, Lighthall, Waite and Ruebush, 1960, cited in Reynolds and Richmond , 1978). It was also consistent with previous research using the CMAS (Bledsoe, 1973, cited in Reynolds and Richmond, 1978).

With the Lie Scale, there was no significant effect with gender in the Reynolds and Richmond (1978) sample, but blacks reportedly scored significantly higher than whites on the Lie Scale, for which there was no explanation. Grade anomalies were also noted. With the exception of Grades two and twelve, Grade one children scored significantly higher than all other grade children (Duncan’s multiple range test procedure, p £ .05); and with the exception of Grades five and eight, Grades seven and four scored significantly lower scores than all other grade children (p £ .05), (p278). Reynolds and Richmond (1978) suggest that Grade variations in the Lie Scale may reflect the unique characteristics of the population, or an indication of defensiveness or social desirability, especially with younger children. Hence, while a high Lie score of six or more may invalidate a high Anxiety score, it might also provide clinical information about the child’s response style, or personality characteristics. This would be true for most lie scales.


·        Cross Cultural Validity:

Studies of cross-cultural validity of the RCMAS have tended to focus on issues of validity with respect to gender and ethnicity. Reynolds, Plake and Harding (1983) found that the RCMAS does contain some potentially biased items in terms of different gender and race response, but the difference was not clinically significant. Reynolds and Paget (1981)demonstrated equivalence with the factor structure for different genders and race.

Wilson, Chibaiwa, Majoni, Masukume and Nkoma (1990) found that the RCMAS was a modestly reliable measure with 961 Zimbabwe children but a factor analysis failed to establish the validity of the RCMAS as a diagnostic or research tool with Zimbabwe children.

Boyd, Kostanski, Gullone, Ollendick and Shek (2000) looked at the prevalence of anxiety and depression in 1,299 adolescents in Melbourne using the RCMAS and the Reynolds Adolescent Depression Scale and found “striking differences” (p.479) between the prevalence in different countries, which might have implications for the use of norms from different countries. Self-reported rates of depression and anxiety in Britain, Canada and the United States were considered to be “similar” or comparative, with comparative rates in Asian countries but the highest rates of anxiety and depression were found in Eastern European countries. Australian data, which identified rates 14.2% of adolescents being depressed and 13.2% being anxious, were said to be comparable with Canada and Hong Kong.

Boyd et al’s (2000) results would tend to lend support to use of the North American and British normative data with Australian children, but the ethnic background of the child might also need to be considered.



American Psychological Association (APA) (1954) Technical Recommendations for psychological Tests and Diagnostic Techniques (Washington, APA)

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The Revised Children’s Manifest Anxiety Scale


“What I think and Feel”


Read each question carefully. Put a circle around the word YES if you think it is true about you. Put a circle around the word NO if you think it is not true about you

1.                  I have trouble making up my mind.                                            Yes / No

2.                  I get nervous when things do not go the right way for me.           Yes / No

3.                  Others seem to do things easier than I can.                                Yes / No

4.                  I like everyone I know.                                                             Yes / No

5.                  Often I have trouble getting my breath.                                      Yes / No

6.                  I worry a lot of the time.                                                            Yes / No

7.                  I am afraid of a lot of things.                                                      Yes / No

8.                  I am always kind.                                                                      Yes / No

9.                  I get mad easily.                                                                        Yes / No

10.              I worry about what my parents will say to me.                           Yes / No

11.              I feel that others do not like the way I do things.                        Yes / No

12.              I always have good manners.                                                    Yes / No

13.              It is hard for me to get to sleep at night.                                     Yes / No

14.              I worry about what other people think about me.                       Yes / No

15.              I feel alone even when there are people with me.                       Yes / No

16.              I am always good.                                                                    Yes / No

17.              Often I feel sick in the stomach.                                                 Yes / No

18.              My feelings get hurt easily.                                                        Yes / No

19.              My hands feel sweaty.                                                              Yes / No

20.              I am always nice to everyone.                                                   Yes / No

21.              I am tired a lot.                                                                         Yes / No

22.              I worry about what is going to happen.                                      Yes / No

23.              Other children are happier than I am.                                              Yes / No

24.              I tell the truth every single time.                                                  Yes / No

25.              I have bad dreams.                                                                   Yes / No

26.              My feelings get hurt easily when I am fussed at.                         Yes / No

27.              I feel someone will tell me I do things the wrong way.                Yes / No

28.              I never get angry.                                                                      Yes / No

29.              I wake up scared some of the time.                                           Yes / No

30.              I worry when I go to bed at night.                                             Yes / No

31.              It is hard for me to keep my mind on my schoolwork.                Yes / No

32.              I never say things that I shouldn’t.                                              Yes / No

33.              I wriggle in my seat a lot.                                                           Yes / No

34.              I am nervous.                                                                            Yes / No

35.              A lot of people are against me.                                                  Yes / No

36.              I never lie.                                                                                Yes / No

37.              I often worry about something bad happening to me.                 Yes / No

Above written by: Ms. Sharon Gilroy

Reviewed and edited by: Dr. Grant J. Devilly