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State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI)
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Supplemental: Headache and Myalgic encephalomyelitis/Chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS)
Short Description of Instrument
The State-Trait Anxiety Inventory STAI measures the presence of anxiety symptoms relating to both current (state) anxiety and long-standing (trait) anxiety in research and clinical settings. The STAI is a validated 40-item self-report assessment device which are divided into separate measures of state and trait anxiety each comprising of 20-items. The two measures comprise the inventory, one consisting of 20 items measuring state anxiety, and the other of 20 items measuring trait anxiety. The STAI is frequently used to measure anxiety in populations with headache ages 16 and older. There is also a STAI for children (STAIC).
The STAI has been adapted in more than 30 languages for cross-cultural research and clinical practice.
The STAI's psychometric properties are adequate. While the scale is meant to measure anxiety, it is problematic in that it overlaps substantially with depression.
On each of the two measures, the twenty questions are scored on a four point Likert scale. Anxiety-absent items are reverse scored. Scores are added to obtain a total subtest score. The range for scores in each subtest is 20-80. Greater anxiety is represented by higher scores. Normative values for certain populations are available in the STAI manual.
Antony MM, Orsillo SM, Roemer L, eds. Practitioner's Guide to Empirically Based Measures of Anxiety. NewYork: Kluwer/Plenum; 2001.
Bieling J, Antony MM, Swinson RP. The State-Trait Anxiety Inventory: Structure and content re-examined. Behav Res Ther. 1998;36:777-788.
Maizels M, Smitherman TA, Penzien DB. A Review of Screening Tools for Psychiatric Comorbidity in Headache Patients. Headache. 2006;46 [Suppl 3]:S98-S109.
Spielberger CD, Gorsuch RL, Lushene R, Vagg PR, Jacobs GA. Manual for the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (Form Y). Palo Alto, CA: Mind Garden; 1983.


Document last updated February 2018
Recommended Instrument for
Headache and ME/CFS