Chronic Stress Scale

Global stress appraisals are measured with psychometrically sound instruments that capture the influence of stress appraisals over the past month (e.g. the Perceived Stress Scale). Yet, the chronic experience of stress over many months can be more elusive to detect and current self-report measures include lengthy life event questionnaires or domain specific inventories. As chronic stress has known influences on health variables, a brief inventory would be valuable for use in clinical and research settings. We therefore developed and are evaluating the Chronic Stress Scale (CSS), a self-report screening questionnaire intended to capture the perceived experience of chronic stress over the past 6 months.

Two undergraduate and two Amazon MTurk samples have completed a questionnaire battery including: an initial 27-item pool for the CSS, Big Five Inventory-Neuroticism scale (BFI-N), Positive and Negative Affect Schedule-Positive Affect (PANAS-PA), and Perceived Stress Scale (PSS). Exploratory principal components analyses with Varimax rotation were used to identify a revised item pool, which is undergoing continued evaluation.

A preliminary selection of 12 items for the CSS has demonstrated replication across samples and loaded onto three distinct factors capturing environmental, interpersonal, and societal chronic stress. Internal consistency on a scale (Cronbach’s α=.83, AIC=.29) and subscale (α=.94, AIC=.57) level has been demonstrated. The CSS has also demonstrated appropriate initial convergent and discriminant validity with other validated scales, BFI-N (r=.50), PANAS-PA(r=.07), and PSS(r=.66). Subscales demonstrated similar correlations. Initial evaluation suggests these 12 items hold promise as a brief measure of chronic stress.


Currently, the CSS is undergoing further validation for stability over time and in psychiatric and chronic disease samples by researchers at Southern Methodist University including Thomas Ritz, Juliet Kroll, and Mike Chmielewski. For more information, please contact

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