A preadolescents' self-perceived stressor inventory: Development and initial findings

Elaine Marion Jorgensen, Pace University


Many children who have adjustment problems may be showing extreme responses to stress; therefore, there is a need to identify these children so that the necessary support to cope with the stressors can be provided. A search of the literature, however, revealed that the importance of studying childhood stressors and their impact on children has not received the attention it deserves. This is emphasized by the fact that the first reported children's stressor inventory was developed by Coddington as recently as 1972 and in the subsequent 14 years, relatively few researchers have focused on this critical area. The current project produced a preadolescents' self-report stressor inventory that evaluates an individual's perception of 68 life events. The Preadolescents' Self-Perceived Stressor Inventory (PSSI) was developed from a pool of 385 potential events that were generated and then evaluated for inclusion by preadolescents, parents, and professionals. A stringent multiple cutoff criterion was applied to reduce the 385 events to the 68 included on the inventory. Thirty-nine of these 68 events are unique to the PSSI. These newly included events underscore the importance of incorporating children's perceptions in the development phases of a self-report inventory. A multidimensional scoring system that yields an uptightness, experience, preoccupation, and stress index score was developed. The PSSI was administered to 400 preadolescents. Thirteen principal components were extracted from the inventory and factor scores were generated for each. Results of ANOVA's using these scores revealed that in general neither grade nor gender influenced children's perception of the stress engendered by the events. Data regarding the occurrence of childhood stressors, the perceived severity of the events, and the factors underlying the events provide insight into childhood stressors. The PSSI is suggested for use as a group screening instrument, a structured interview, a component in a psychological battery, and a tool in psychotherapy.

Subject Area

Psychotherapy|Psychological tests|Developmental psychology

Recommended Citation

Jorgensen, Elaine Marion, "A preadolescents' self-perceived stressor inventory: Development and initial findings" (1986). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI9015214.



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