Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine

Living Edition
| Editors: Marc Gellman

Perceived Stress Scale (PSS)

  • Sherilynn F. ChanEmail author
  • Annette M. La Greca
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6439-6_773-2

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...

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References and Further Reading

  1. Barbosa-Leiker, C., Kostick, M., Lei, M., McPherson, S., Roper, V., Hoekstra, T., & Wright, B. (2013). Measurement invariance of the perceived stress scale and latent mean differences across gender and time. Stress and Health, 29, 253–260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 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
  3. Cohen, S., Kamarck, T., & Mermelstein, R. (1983). A global measure of perceived stress. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 24, 385–396.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 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
  5. Hewitt, P. L., Flett, G. L., & Mosher, S. W. (1992). The perceived stress scale: Factor structure and relation to depression symptoms in a psychiatric sample. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 14, 247–257.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Martin, R. A., Kazarian, S. S., & Brieter, H. J. (1995). Perceived stress, life events, dysfunctional attitudes, and depression in adolescent psychiatric inpatients. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 17, 81–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Roberti, J., Harrington, L., & Storch, E. (2006). Further psychometric support for the 10-item version of the perceived stress scale. Journal of College Counseling, 9(2), 135–147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical CenterUniversity of Cincinnati College of MedicineCincinnatiUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MiamiCoral GablesUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Alan M. Delamater
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PediatricsUniversity of Miami Miller School of MedicineMiamiUSA