Online Assessment of Preschool Anxiety: description and initial validation of a new diagnostic tool

Amy J. Morgan*, Elli Tamir, Ronald M. Rapee, Heidi J. Lyneham, Lauren F. McLellan, Jordana K. Bayer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The Online Assessment of Preschool Anxiety (OAPA) is a newly developed measure that assesses anxiety disorders in preschool children aged 3–6 years. This study aimed to explore the OAPA's initial psychometric properties with a particular focus on examining its construct validity, both convergent and discriminant. Method: The OAPA was completed online by a community sample of 319 Australian parents of temperamentally inhibited preschool children (M: 5.3 years). Preliminary diagnoses were automatically generated before assessment reports were reviewed by a psychologist. Construct validity was examined by assessing the degree of agreement between the OAPA and existing valid questionnaire measures that were simultaneously administered online. Results: Nearly half of participants met criteria for a child anxiety disorder according to the OAPA, most commonly social phobia. Findings supported convergent validity with the Revised Preschool Anxiety Scale (an anxiety symptom measure), the Children's Anxiety Life Interference Scale – Preschool Version (a measure of life interference from anxiety), the Emotional Symptoms scale of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire-Parent Version (a measure of broader internalizing symptoms), as well as an over-involved/protective parenting scale. Findings also supported initial discriminant validity with the Conduct Problems scale of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire-Parent Version. Conclusions: Results of this study provide evidence for the OAPA's preliminary construct validity. With further research into the OAPA's reliability (test–retest and interrater) and confirming construct validity, the OAPA may be a useful instrument for use in research settings and clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-265
Number of pages7
JournalChild and Adolescent Mental Health
Issue number3
Early online date4 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2019


  • child
  • preschool
  • anxiety disorder
  • diagnostic interview
  • internet


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