Carnegie Mellon University

Perceived Stress During Childhood and Adolescence


Recalled Childhood and Adolescence Perceived Stress Measure (ReCAPS)



Copyright Information

Not a copyrighted measure


To assess retrospectively participants’ ratings of overall perceived life stress during childhood and adolescence.

Type of Measure

Created for study


Using a 6-point response scale, participants are asked to rate—for each of three ages during childhood and adolescence—their level of overall stress compared to other people their age.  Ratings were provided with reference to ages 5, 10, and 15 years, respectively.


1 = much less stress, 2 = less stress, 3 = slightly less stress, 4 = slightly more stress, 5 = more stress, 6 = much more stress

Number of Items

3 (1 item * 3 ages)


In the PCS3 sample, total perceived stress during childhood and adolescence correlated in expected directions with scores on the Risky Families Questionnaire (partial r = .39), the Family Environment Scale (FES) conflict subscale (partial r = .30), and the FES cohesion subscale (partial r = -.34), independent of ratings of current perceived stress and emotional stability.


  • Perceived Stress at age 5
  • Perceived Stress at age 10
  • Perceived Stress at age 15
  • Total Perceived Stress During Childhood and Adolescence

For a similar 1-item measure of childhood stress see:

Carpenter, L. L., Tyrka, A. R., McDougle, C. J., Malison, R. T., Owens, M. J., Nemeroff, C. B., & Price, L. H. (2004). Cerebrospinal fluid corticotropin-releasing factor and perceived early-life stress in depressed patients and healthy control subjects. Neuropsychopharmacology, 29, 777-784.