Date of Award

Summer 2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair

Dr. Kyna Shelley

Committee Chair School


Committee Member 2

Dr. Thomas Lipscomb

Committee Member 2 School


Committee Member 3

Dr. Richard Mohn

Committee Member 3 School


Committee Member 4

Dr. Thomas O'Brien

Committee Member 4 School



Physical appearance-related social anxieties have been identified as feelings individuals experience in general and in different social situations based on their outward appearance. Two instruments have been used to assess the construct of social anxiety, the social physique anxiety scale (SPAS) and the social appearance anxiety scale (SAAS). This cross-sectional study implemented a non-experimental design with randomization of the total sample (n=1214) into three equal groups. Participants were recruited using a crowdsource sampling platform, MTurk. This study was broken into three Phases: confirming the factor models for the SPAS and SAAS, using an exploratory technique to determine the factor structure of combining the SPAS and SAAS, and confirming the appropriate measurement model derived from the combination of the two scales. Demographic variables were collected in order to establish potential differences on the SPAS and SAAS among demographic characteristics of the participants. Results showed there was a significant difference in total SPAS and SAAS scores among biological sex, gender identity, and exercise behaviors. Phase 1 confirmed the measurement model for both the SPAS and SAAS independently. Findings exhibited that the high-order two-factor model was the best fitting model for the SPAS data and confirmed the SAAS had a unidimensional factor structure but that best fit was achieved through correlation of three sets of error terms. Phase 2 tested the SPAS and SAAS as a combined measure, using an exploratory factor analysis with two and three fixed factors. Results indicated that the three-factor solution was the most parsimonious model ending with 20 items. Phase 3 used a confirmatory factor analysis to establish the three-factor model was an appropriate measurement model but concluded with the higher-order three-factor model being the best fit for the data. Because the SPAS and SAAS use summed scores to report overall levels of physical appearance-related anxiety, the higher-order models functioned better over the correlated factor models. The SPAS and SAAS are accurate instruments in assessing levels of physical appearance-related anxiety as independent measures and as a combined scale. The use of the combined scale may give a more encompassing measure of one’s overall level of physical appearance-related anxiety.

KEYWORDS: social physique anxiety, social appearance anxiety, factor validity, measurement model, MTurk