Perceived Stress Scale (PSS)
Definition and Description
The Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) is one of the most widely used instruments to measure stress perceptions. The original PSS is a 14-item self-report measure designed to assess “the degree to which situations in one’s life are appraised as stressful” (Cohen et al. 1983, p. 385). It is a global measure of stress, rather than a measure of specific stressful life events. Specifically, items assess the extent to which one’s life is perceived as “unpredictable, uncontrollable, and overloading” (Cohen et al. 1983, p. 387). The measure was intended for use with community samples of adolescents or adults with an educational level of junior high school or more. Sample items include the following: “In the last month…how often have you been upset because of something that happened unexpectedly?,” “…how often have you felt that you were unable to control the important things in your life?,” and “…how often have you felt confident about your ability to handle your...
References and Further Reading
- Cohen, S., & Williamson, G. (1988). Perceived stress in a probability sample of the United States. In S. Spacapam & S. Oskamp (Eds.), The social psychology of health: Claremont symposium on applied social psychology. Newbury Park: Sage.Google Scholar
- Dr. Cohen’s Scales. (2015, February 19). Retrieved August 9, 2019, from https://www.cmu.edu/dietrich/psychology/stress-immunity-disease-lab/scales/index.html