Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Chair(s)

Gerald Adams


Gerald Adams


Elwin Nielsen


Richard Gordin


Adolescence is an important period in the life cycle for which to study stress, due to the many involved developmental changes that require adaptation. This adaptation can be very stressful and result in pathology. Stress is defined as a "process" involving a continual transaction between stressors in the environment, mediating variables, and stress responses.

The Stress-Response Scale for Adolescents (SRSA) was developed to measure self-perceived stress responses of those between the ages of 14 to 20. The SRSA's development involved three studies. Study 1 involved item selection, scale construction, item reduction, and estimations of internal consistency and validity. Truthfulness items were developed to determine the honesty of responses.

Study 2 tested the ability of the SRSA, through roe-enactment methodology, to distinguish those in a high-stress condition versus those in a low-stress condition. Study 3, again with the use of role-enactment methodology, tested the potential of the SRSA to detect changes in stress-response levels when individuals were taken from a low-stress to a high-stress condition and vice versa.

The final SRSA includes 32 stress-response and six truthfulness items. Initially, factor analysis of the SRSA revealed a high loading of gender on the primary factor. Separate forms were created for males and females. Repeat factor analyses of items in the two forms revealed four factors each for males and females but were of questionable utility due to high intercorrelations. All sections of the SRSA should be used for most purposes. Internal consistency estimates of the SRSA are .96 (2 < .05) for females and .94 (2 < .05) for males. Validity estimates are all in the expected direction and range from .25 to .79 for both males and females. The truthfulness items have a coefficient alpha of .82 for females and .77 for males, with validity estimates ranging from .34 for females to .14 (25 < .05) for males. Studies 2 and 3 revealed that the SRSA does have the potential of differentiating between those in different stress conditions and also of detecting stress-response changes.

It was concluded that the SRSA, although in preliminary form, has the potential of assessing the stress response in adolescents as long as the discussed weaknesses, such as small sample size and nonrandomization, are taken into account.



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