How to Score the Beck Anxiety Scale

By Laura Acevedo

The Beck Anxiety Scale is used to measure the severity of a patient's level of anxiety. The scale is a series of 21 multiple-choice, self-reporting questions about the patient's feelings of anxiety over the prior week. The questions assess different symptoms of anxiety such as sweating, rapid heartbeat, irritability and shortness of breath. Each question has four answer choices: Not at All, Mildly, Moderately, or Severely. The patient selects one answer for each question. The reliability of the Beck Anxiety Scale is solely dependent upon the patient's honesty when answering each question. Obtaining a score for the Beck Anxiety scale can be obtained through five simple steps.

List of Items Needed

  • Beck Anxiety Scale Exam
  • Pencil
  1. Administer the Beck Anxiety Scale to a patient, preferably in a calm environment to minimize any environmental impact on the exam. The exam is valid for patients between seventeen and eighty years of age and is available in English and Spanish. If the patient is unable or unwilling to answer the questions in written format, the Beck Anxiety Scale can be administered verbally.

  2. Review the results of the patient's Beck Anxiety Scale self-reporting inventory. Make sure each question has been answered and that the result of each question is clear.

  3. Score each questions with zero points for a not at all answer, one point for a mildly answer, two points for a moderately answer, and four points for a severely answer.

  4. Add the points from each question to obtain a total score for the entire Beck Anxiety Scale. The scale of points should be between zero and sixty-three.

  5. Evaluate the total score to determine anxiety level. Zero to seven points indicates a minimal level of anxiety, eight to fifteen points indicates mild anxiety, sixteen to twenty-five points indicates moderate anxiety and twenty-six to sixty-three points indicates severe anxiety. Individuals with a moderate anxiety score typically exhibit physical side effects of anxiety and may need professional assistance to evaluate their condition to reduce anxiety. Patients with severe anxiety usually need immediate professional help to reduce stress, evaluate their condition and rapidly find solutions to reduce their unhealthy level of anxiety.

Tips and Warnings

  • Always consult a doctor if you have concerns about your level of anxiety.

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