Carnegie Mellon University

Perceived Stress


Title

Perceived Stress Scale (10-item; 14-item)

Studies

BCS, PCS1, PCS2, PMBC, PCS3

Copyright Information

Permission is not necessary for nonprofit research or nonprofit educational purposes; if your institution requires a letter/email of permission, please contact Dr. Cohen

For usage in for-profit endeavors, please contact both Dr. Cohen and the American Sociological Association for instructions.

Primary References

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

2. Cohen, S., & Janicki-Deverts, D. (2012). Who's stressed? Distributions of psychological stress in the United States in probability samples from 1983, 2006 and 2009. Journal of Applied Social PsychologyCMU Press Release, spring 2012

Purpose

To assess the degree to which people perceive their lives as stressful

Type of Measure

Established

Description

Using a 5-point frequency scale, respondents indicate how often during the past month they found their lives to be unpredictable, uncontrollable, and overloaded.

Scaling

0 = Never, 1 = Almost Never, 2 = Sometimes, 3 = Fairly Often, 4= Very Often

Number of Items

BCS: 14

PCS1, PCS2, PMBC, PCS3: 10

Sample Items

  • In the last month, how often have you been upset because of something that happened unexpectedly?
  • In the last month, how often have you felt nervous and “stressed”?

Psychometrics

Internal consistency in combined BCS, PCS2, PMBC, and PCS3 samples (n = 1142):  Cronbach’s α = 0.86

Test-retest reliability in PCS1 (n = 274):  one week, r = 0.85; two weeks, r = 0.82

Scoring

10-item Scale (PCS1, PCS, PMBC, PCS3)

Reverse Items: 4, 5, 7,8
Sum Items 1, 2, 3, 4R, 5R, 6, 7R, 8R, 9, 10

14-item Scale (BCS)

Reversed Items: 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, and 13
Sum Items: 1, 2, 3, 4R, 5R, 6R, 7R, 8, 9R, 10R, 11, 12, 13R, 14

Variables

Total Perceived Stress Score