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Children’s Fear Scale

Children’s Fear Scale

The children's fear scale depicts five faces. The faces show different fear intensities. The faces range from not being scared at all on the left, and the faces get a little bit more scared as they move to the final face that is the most scared possible on the right. The eyebrows, eyes, and mouth features change across the faces to depict different degrees of fear.

The Children’s Fear Scale was adapted from the Faces Anxiety Scale (McKinley, Coote, & Stein-Parbury, 2003) to measure fear in children undergoing painful medical procedures. The initial validation study (McMurtry, Noel, Chambers, & McGrath, 2011) with children undergoing venipuncture demonstrated construct validity (through high concurrent validity with another measure of child fear and moderate discriminant validity with child coping behaviour) as well as test-retest and interrater reliability. 

*Please note that in other, earlier publications by our team, the scale was referred to as the Faces Anxiety Scale for Children. 

Download the CFS

Please click the ‘Download’ button below to get the full-size PDF version of the CFS, with instructions (English). 

Permission For Use

No permission is required for clinical and research use of the CFS. 


Initial Validation Study: McMurtry, C.M., Noel, M., Chambers, C.T., McGrath, P.J. (2011). Children’s fear during procedural pain: Preliminary investigation of the Children’s Fear Scale. Health Psychology, Advanced Access Online.

Original Faces Anxiety Scale: McKinley, S., Coote, K., & Stein-Parbury, J. S. (2003). Development and testing of a faces scale for the assessment of anxiety in critically ill patients. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 41, 73-79.