The (in)variance of the structure of fear across child and adolescent development was investigated using the response of 3,803 young people (aged 6-18 years) to the Fear Survey Schedule for Children-Revised (FSSC-R). It was hypothesized that the structure of fear, particularly social fear, would become more differentiated during adolescence. Confirmatory factor analysis was utilized to test the goodness-of-fit of a 5-factor solution (with one social factor, that is Failure and Criticism) and a 7-factor solution (with social items divided into three distinct subfactors) among three age groups. Results indicated that a 5-factor solution (including just one social factor) adequately characterizes the structure of fear in childhood (6-9 years), whereas a 7-factor solution (including three social factors) more appropriately characterizes the structure of fear in adolescence (10-13 and 14-18 years). It appears that a global social fear exists until around the age of 9, and that social fears becomes more differentiated thereafter. © 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.