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Stress Inventory

Understanding stress: Stress often has a negative connotation. Failure, illness, hardship are often referred to as stress. Stress can also be the result of factors such as job promotion, relocation, first love and the like.

Ivancevich and Matteson (1980) defined stress as an adaptive response mediated by personal characteristics or a psychological process that is the result of any internal action, situation or internal event that makes specific physical or psychological demands on the person. The pioneering work of Hans Selye (1974) shed light on stress, and introduced the concept of stress into scientific circles. As seen above, different psychologists have given different definitions to stress. Bourne and Ekstrand (1982) define stress as “any condition in which the body tends to mobilize its resources and use more energy than it originally produced.” According to Shanmugham (1981), stress is any situation that strains a person’s coping capabilities.

Stress can also cause physical ailments as the body’s internal system changes to cope with the stress. Some physical ailments have a short-term effect, such as stomach ailment, while others have long-term effects, such as a stomach ulcer. Stress in the long run also causes degenerative disease of hearing, kidneys, blood vessels and other parts of the body. Studies have revealed certain personality variables that make an individual more susceptible to stress. Certain occupations were also found to present more stress. Lachman (1983) tested samples of higher work stress experienced by nurses in intensive care units compared to those on general duty. Dharmangadan (1988) reported that the police received significantly more stress than other occupational groups. Despite extensive research and theoretical thinking, the stress field lacks an integrative framework that can explain most research findings in a logical and theoretical manner (Cooper, 1983).

Many studies have attempted to identify and explore different areas and dimensions of stress. (Pestonjee, 1992, Balagangadharan and Bhagavathy, 1997). The most commonly used tools for stress assessment include the Recent Experiences program (Holmes and Rahe, 1967) the Personal Stress Rating Inventory (Kindler, 1981) and the Life Experience Survey (Sarason et al.1979). Various methodological issues in stress assessment are discussed in Rabkin. and Struening (1986). Sarason et al. (1978) concluded that a measure of life stress should have three characteristics, a) It should include a list of events experienced by the population under investigation. b) It should allow valuation by the respondent himself. c) It should allow the personal evaluation of the personal impact of the events experienced.

Based on the writings of James (1982), Sutherland and Cooper (1990) and Pohorecky (1991), the researchers identified 8 stress domains as measures of global stress of the individual subject.

1. Stress as a predictor: The concept of stress as a predictor has evolved over many years in response to experimental findings, clinical observation, theory formulation and prospective validation. Friedman and Roseman (1974) observed a particular behavior pattern in young coronary patients, later known as Type A Behavior. Type A people are those who are in a constant struggle to get more and more in a short period of time.

2. Source of stress in the family: Home can be a potential source of stress. Both regular and unexpected situations demand the individual’s adaptive and adaptive style. Interpersonal relationships, marriages, communication barriers, unexpected events such as a change of residence, illness or death of a family member add stress to people.

3. Source of stress at work: Occupation is another potential source of stress. Regular situations like taking a dangerous job, which is against the interest. They work for low wages. Job insecurity, lack of employer appreciation, receiving conflicting instructions from higher authorities is stressful for everyone. Along with these, job loss, salary delays and strained relationships between friends also cause stress.

4. Subjective evaluation of situations: An individual’s subjective evaluation of a situation is important for classifying a situation as stressful. A situation that is very stressful for one person, for example a transfer at work, may be seen by another as an opportunity to meet new people and see new places.

5. Somatic consequences of stress: Somatic consequences like migraine headaches, angina, lack of appetite, constipation, breathing problems, excessive sweating are often considered as symptoms of stress.

6. Psychological consequences: Psychological consequences such as insomnia, nightmares, anger and despair, anger at criticism, anxiety,

fatigue, excessive smoking and substance abuse can be considered stress.

7. Specific stress response patterns: An individual’s stress response patterns are a reflection of his personality. Some people show disgust and anger in stressful situations while others become frustrated and confess.

8. Engaging in stress-reducing activities: In daily life, people come across several situations that cause stress. Deliberate or unconscious avoidance of stress is manifested in increased interest in sports and games, joining clubs, keeping pets, watching movies, etc.


Based on relevant literature and extensive discussion with experts in the field, it was planned to create an inventory to measure stress on a five-point scale. 15 to 20 items were created for each area of ​​stress that emerged in the discussions. The utmost care has been taken to ensure that everything fits the specific area it is built under and that they do not overlap.

The listed items are made in the context of statements. Each statement is related to a situation that creates or results in the subjective experience of stress. A total of 140 statements were made and the following precautions were taken while making the test items.

1. Everything has been done in simple Malayalam so that it can be easily understood.

2. Careful attention was paid to keep things free from the social desirability factor.

3. Sufficient care has been taken to see that everything is closely related to stress.

4. In order to control the composition of the subjects, the items were framed in positive and negative ways.


Test items were randomly assigned and applied to a non-selected group of 50 school teachers. Subjects were not given any time limit and were asked to read each item carefully and express their opinion on one of the five alternatives, ‘strongly agree’, ‘agree’, ‘undecided’, ‘disagree’ ‘ ‘completely. disagreements’ depending on the situation. They were also asked to indicate whether the words were unclear or different in meaning. The test items were again checked based on the answers obtained in the test. An ad that belongs to one of the following categories has been removed.

1. Statements that were answered positively or negatively almost always.

2. Statements that elicited high rates of ‘undecided’ responses.

3. Words that were found difficult or unclear.

In this way, out of 140 points, 28 points were completely rejected. The remaining 112 statements were given to Psychology teachers to assess the clarity and accuracy of each item. In light of their decision, 11 more items were discarded and the remaining 101 items were retained for final testing and item analysis.

Item analysis.


A 101-item item analysis was conducted on the responses of a sample of 300 university students on a 5-point Liker scale ranging from ‘completely satisfied’ to ‘undecided’ to ‘completely disagree’. Each individual’s response score was summed to 101 points. (After converting negative point to positive point). 75 subjects with high scores and 75 subjects with low scores were shown. These two extreme groups were used to check the discrimination cells of each of them by adopting the internal consistency scale proposed by Likert (1932). the t value was calculated to compare the mean scores of the two extreme groups on each item. All t values ​​are given in the appendices. Those items whose t value was significant at the 0.01 level were retained in the inventory. In this way, 66 points were selected for the final form.


In order to determine the reliability of the inventory, the internal consistency determined by the split-half method was calculated based on the answers given by a sample of 50 university students. The coefficient of internal consistency corrected by the Spearman-Brown formula was found to be 0.74. To test for temporal consistency, the inventory was administered to the same 50 college students after 4 weeks. The test-retest correlation coefficient was found to be 0.79 and the temporal consistency was 0.88.


To determine whether the HSI was a valid instrument, content validity was determined. The items were administered to five Psychology teachers (as mentioned earlier) who had adequate training and experience in this field. They read each item and carefully judged the level of stress expressed by each. For this purpose the judges were given a table in which they were asked to rate each item under one of the following 5 categories, strongly agree / agree / undecided / disagree / strongly disagree. Also, the judges were asked to do such things that are not well said or difficult to understand. Based on their opinion, only 101 items were subjected to material analysis, and 66 items that filled all the criteria were finally included in the inventory.

Dr. Hari S.Chandran, M.Phil (Psy), Ph.D, PGDPC works as Cons. Psychologist, Department of Deaddiction & Mental Health, St.Gregorios Mission Hospital, Parumala. Kerala, dr_hari@sancharnet


Balagangadaran, A and Bhagavathy, KA, A study of personality and risk factors in CHD, Paper presented at the Seminar on stress and stress management, Dept. of Psychology, University of Kerala, 1997

Bourne, EL and Ekstrand, G. Psychology, London: CBS College Pub., 1982

Cooper, CL, Stress Research, problems for the Eighth. New York: John Wiley, 1983

Dharmangadan B., Stress at work-A comparison of five occupations, Psychological Research, 1988, 162-69.

Holmes.TH and Rahe, The measure of social rehabilitation, Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 1967 (11) 211-218

Ivancevich JM and Matterson, Stress at work. Scot. Foresman, 1980.

James, CN, Introduction to Clinical Psychology New York; Free Press, 1982.

Kindler, HA, Personal Stress Assessment Inventory, New York: Center for Managerial Effectiveness, 1981

Lachman.VD, Stress Management-A Manual for Nurses, New York: Grune and Stratton Inc, 1983.

Likert.R, Techniques for measuring attitude scales, Archives of Psychology, New York, 1932.

Pehoreeky.LA, Stress and Alcohol Interaction, An Updated Human Study,

Journal of Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Studies 1991 (3) 438-59.

Pestonjee DM, Stress and coping: The Indian experience, New Delhi,

Sagar pub. 1992

Rabkin JG and Struening.EL Life Events, Stress and Illness, Science 1986, 1013-020

Sarason IG, Assessing the impact of lifetime changes in stress and anxiety (Ed).

Sarason, IG. London: Hemisphere Pub. Co. 1979

Selye HA, Stress without Stress, Philadelphia: Lippincot, 1974.

Shanmugham, TE, Abnormal Psychology, New Delhi: TMH Pub. Co. 1981

Sutherland.VJ and Cooper.CL, Understanding stress: A psychological perspective for health professionals, London: Chapman and Hall 1990.

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