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Perceived Stress Scale (PSS)

The Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) is a 14-item measure of the degree to which situations in one's life are appraised as stressful. The items tap the degree to which respondents find their lives unpredictable, uncontrollable, and overwhelming.

Categories

Geographies Tested: United States of America

Populations Included: Female, Male

Age Range: Adolescents, Adults

Items:

Instructions: The questions in this scale ask you about your feelings and thoughts during the last month. In each case, you will be asked to indicate how often you felt or thought a certain way. Although some of the questions are similar, there are differences between them and you should treat each one as a separate question. The best approach is to answer each question fairly quickly. That is, don't try to count up the number of times you felt a particular way, but rather indicate the alternative that seems like a reasonable estimate.

1. In the last month, how often have you been upset because of something that happened unexpectedly?
2. In the last month, how often have you felt that you were unable to control the important things in your life?
3. In the last month, how often have you felt nervous and "stressed"?
4. In the last month, how often have you dealt successfully with irritating life hassles?
5. In the last month, how often have you felt that you were effectively coping with important changes that were occurring in your life?
6. In the last month, how often have you felt confident about your ability to handle your personal problems?
7. In the last month, how often have you felt that things were going your way?
8. In the last month, how often have you found that you could not cope with all the things that you had to do?
9. In the last month, how often have you been able to control irritations in your life?
10. In the last month, how often have you felt that you were on top of things?
11. In the last month, how often have you been angered because of things that happened that were outside of your control?
12. In the last month, how often have you found yourself thinking about things that you have to accomplish?
13. In the last month, how often have you been able to control the way you spend your time?
14. In the last month, how often have you felt difficulties were piling up so high that you could not overcome them?

Response Options:
Never - 0
Almost never - 1
Sometimes - 2
Fairly often - 3
Very often - 4

Scoring Procedures

PSS scores are obtained by reversing the scores on items 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, and 13 (i.e., the positive items). In these cases, reverse scores will be as follows: 0=4, 1=3, 2=2, etc., and then summing across all 14 items; scores can range from 0 to 56. Lower scores refer to lower perceived stress.

Original Citation

Cohen, S., Kamarck, T., Merlemstein, R. (1983). A global measure of perceived stress. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 24,(4) 385-396.

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