Taylor’s Manifest Anxiety Scale (TMAS)

BioPsychoSocial Assessment Tools for the Elderly - Assessment Summary Sheet

Test: Taylor’s Manifest Anxiety Scale (TMAS) – 50 item version

Year: 1953

Domain: Psychological

Assessment Tool Category: Mental Health

Variations/Translations: 28-item abbreviation, Adult Manifest Anxiety Scale, Children Manifest Anxiety Scale

Setting: Clinical

Method of Delivery: Psychiatrist

Description: Taylor’s Manifest Anxiety Scale (TMAS) was originally developed as a device for selecting subjects for inclusion in psychological experiments on stress, motivation, and human performance. It has subsequently been used as a general indicator of anxiety as a personality trait, it is not intended as a specific measure of anxiety as a clinical entity. Taylor thought that personality drive level would be reflected in the intensity of “manifested anxiety”, and measured it using true/false responses. Items judged by clinicians as being indicative of manifest anxiety were selected from the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory.

Scoring/Interpretation: True-false responses are used for each item, and the replies indicating anxiety are counted, giving a score from 0 to 50 with the higher the score representing a higher level of anxiety. It is up to the discretion of the psychiatrist to decide where they fit in the “manifest anxiety” interpretation.

Time to Administer: 10-15 minutes

Availability: Available online for a fee (see below)

Software: N/A

Website: http://portal.wpspublish.com/portal/page?_pageid=53,70448&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL

Quantitative/Qualitative: Quantitative

Validity (Quantitative): Results of factor analytic studies suggest that the TMAS has a broad and diffuse coverage, including some dimensions that appear unrelated to anxiety such as “general apprehension”, “perceived self-effectiveness”, “lack of self confidence,” and “social confidence”. Some scholars say that the total score on the MA scale is a composite of dissimilar traits and is therefore, not meaningful. When comparing the TMAS scores with independent anxiety ratings made by nurses, the agreement was weak and only significant if most patients with intermediate TMAS scores were omitted from the analysis. Correlation between TMAS scores and anxiety ratings made by psychiatrists was only 0.34. TMAS scores did discriminate significantly between patients with anxiety and a range of other diagnostic groups. Construct validity has been widely studied. Correlations of 0.72 and 0.75 were reported between the TMAS and Evsenck’s measure of neuroticism in two samples; correlations with the psychoticism scale were 0.26 and 0.21. High correlations of 0.81 and 0.92 were reported between the TMAS and the Psychasthenia scale of the MMPI and a low of 0.64 with the Beck Depression Inventory. Taylor suggested that, when scores hold consequences for the respondent, more intelligent people may bemore apt to fake good scores than less intelligent respondent. Because Taylor’s original theory held that anxiety might be related to certain physiological measures, several studies have tested its validity in this way. No association was found with heart rate or galvanic skin response.

Reliability (Quantitative): For the original 50-item version, retest correlations of 0.89, 0.82, and 0.81 over intervals of three weeks, five months and nine to 17 months. Item-total correlations appear low: one study found only 20 of the 50 items to have item-total correlations about 0.4, another study found only 16 questions. The range of item-total correlations is wide: 0.01 to 0.70 in one study. Correlations may also vary by ethnic group and educational level. Kuder-Richardson internal consistency estimates were 0.78 and 0.84 in two samples, whereas Bendig reported a median alpha of 0.82 in an unspecific number of studies. A coefficient alpha of 0.70 was obtained from a sample of graduate students.


Taylor, J.A. (1953). A personality scale of manifest anxiety. J Abnorm Soc Psychol, 48, 285–290.

Zung, W.W.K. (1974). The measurement of affects: depression and anxiety. Mod Probl Pharmacopsychiatry, 7, 170–188.

T aylor, J.A. (1951) The relationship of anxiety to the conditioned eyelid response. J Exp Psychol, 41, 81–92.

Taylor, J.A. (1956). Drive theory and manifest anxiety. Psychol Bull, 53, 303–320.

Kendall, E. (1954). The validity of Taylor’s Manifest Anxiety Scale. J Consult Psychol, 18, 429–432.

Khan, S.B. (1970). Dimensions of manifest anxiety and their relationship to college achievement. J Consult Clin Psychol, 35, 223–228.

McDowell, I. & Newell, C. (1996). Measuring Health: A Guide to Rating Scales and Questionnaires. (2nd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.

Comments: One of the earliest psychometric measures of anxiety.