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

Azadeh Tavoli1*, Mahdiyeh Melyani1, Maryam Bakhtiari2, Gholam Hossein Ghaedi3 and Ali Montazeri4*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Psychology, Faculty of Humanity Studies, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of Psychology, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Science, Tehran, Iran

3 Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Shahed University, Tehran, Iran

4 Iranian Institute for Health Sciences Research, ACECR, Tehran, Iran

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BMC Psychiatry 2009, 9:42  doi:10.1186/1471-244X-9-42

Published: 9 July 2009



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.


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.


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.


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.