What Is the Social Phobia Inventory (SPIN) Test?

The social phobia inventory scale, or SPIN, is a way of measuring a person’s level of social phobia or social anxiety. It contains 17 expert questions that are said to assist in the diagnosis of social anxiety disorder.

Versions of anxiety or fear assessments have been around for decades. They have been critiqued for not being detailed enough or too long and cumbersome to complete. SPIN is relatively new. Other social phobia assessments include the social phobia scale, or SPS, and the Social Interaction Anxiety Scale, or SIAS.

Woman feeling socially anxious

ljubaphoto / Getty Images

How Does the SPIN Test Work?


The SPIN test assesses your level of social anxiety as it relates to specific, common symptoms of social anxiety.

In a SPIN test, you will have to answer how relatable the statements, including the following, have been in the past week:

  • I avoid talking to people I don’t know.
  • I avoid doing things or speaking to people for fear of embarrassment.
  • Heart palpitations bother me when I am around people.

By self-reporting and reviewing your answers, you may see where any social anxieties pop up in your everyday life and to what degree they’re causing you distress. 

The Scale

The scale is designed to gauge the level at which anxiety is creating dysfunction across different social or public spheres. You will be asked to look at the truth of the statements in terms of the intensity or frequency at which you have experienced these feelings or symptoms of social anxiety within the past week. 

The scale is as follows:

  • Not at all
  • A little bit
  • Somewhat
  • Very much
  • Extremely

SPIN Test Scoring

SPIN test scoring is based on assigning number values or weights to each scale category and then adding the numbers to see where your symptoms land on the scale. Many online versions of the SPIN test will do the tallying part and reveal your score. 

It’s said that a score of 19 or more on the SPIN is suggestive of social phobia or social anxiety disorder. This isn’t a formal clinical diagnosis, though. You may consider bringing this assessment to your healthcare provider for further discussion on diagnosis and treatment.

Interpreting Results


SPIN testing and scoring can give you an idea of how social anxiety plays a role in your current life, but bear in mind these results are based on self-reported data from the past week. You may wish to retake the SPIN as weeks continue to see how social anxiety impacts you over time. You may also consider bringing your results to your healthcare provider with any follow-up questions or concerns. 

Accuracy

Cambridge University Press published a review of the SPIN assessment in January 2018. SPIN was determined to be accurate (meaning it measures what it’s supposed to measure) and reliable (meaning the test can be replicated or reproduced with similar results). However, the recent limitations of SPIN are that it hasn’t been tested on clinical groups, such as children, non-English speakers, and ethnic minorities.

Summary 

The SPIN questionnaire was designed to help determine if and when you’re experiencing social anxiety and “how bad it is.” It’s based on a scale that asks you to consider how relatable each statement is to your current situation and how you’ve been feeling in the past week. You can use the self-assessment to understand better how social anxiety may impact you and use it as a tool to discuss your mental health with your healthcare provider.

A Word From Verywell


Because the SPIN test is self-reporting, it's only as accurate as a person’s answers to the questions. If anxiety negatively impacts your life and well-being, you may consider reaching out to a healthcare provider to talk about anxiety and what steps to take next. There's never any shame in seeking treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What assessments are used for social anxiety disorder?

    Assessments used for social anxiety disorder include the SPIN or social phobia inventory test. It is a questionnaire designed to measure your experience with social phobia in specific situations and the severity of your symptoms. It is not a diagnostic tool.

  • What should you do if you have social anxiety?

    If you have social anxiety, you may want to take the SPIN assessment to see where social anxiety is present and how severe your symptoms are. You may then use this information to have a detailed conversation with your healthcare provider about possible treatment options or lifestyle changes. 

  • What is social anxiety?

    Social anxiety is more than feeling nervous or shy in groups. Social anxiety is the intense and often overwhelming fear of social situations, especially those with the potential to be criticized or excluded. This includes fears of performing tasks in front of others (writing, speaking, eating, dancing, sweating).

3 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Psychology Tools. Social phobia inventory. SPIN.

  2. Connor K, Davidson J, Churchill L, Sherwood A, Weisler R, Foa E. Psychometric properties of the social phobia inventory (SPIN). British Journal of Psychiatry. 2000;176(4):379-386. doi:10.1192/bjp.176.4.379

  3. National Institute of Mental Health. Social anxiety disorder: more than just shyness.

By Michelle Pugle
Michelle Pugle, BA, MA, is an expert health writer with nearly a decade of contributing accurate and accessible health news and information to authority websites and print magazines. Her work focuses on lifestyle management, chronic illness, and mental health. Michelle is the author of Ana, Mia & Me: A Memoir From an Anorexic Teen Mind.