Development and Initial Validation of the Student Rating of Environmental Stressors Scale: Stressors Faced by Students in Accelerated High School Curricula

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stress, environmental demands, accelerated programs, high school students, measure development

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High school students in accelerated curricula face stressors beyond typical adolescent developmental challenges. The Student Rating of Environmental Stressors Scale (StRESS) is a self-report measure of environmental stressors appropriate for students in Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses. We developed the StRESS in parallel with a new measure of coping designed for this same population. Items were derived from sentiments expressed during focus groups and individual interviews with 177 students, 72 parents, and 47 teachers. Multiple iterations of expert review and item analyses focusing on conceptual clarity and comprehensiveness resulted in 75 items reflecting stressors across domains, including school, home, and peers. High school students in AP or IB (N = 727) completed the 75-item inventory. Exploratory factor analyses and additional item review indicated a five-factor solution with 32 items. Cronbach’s alpha reliabilities ranged from .67 to .88. Five additional items representing a composite of Major Life Events also were included. The five factors and Major Life Events composite had test–retest reliabilities greater than .70. These scores were related to multiple conceptualizations of stress, as well as academic outcomes (GPA and attendance) and mental health (life satisfaction and anxiety), thus supporting the construct validity of the StRESS scores. Further support for the five-factor structure of the StRESS was provided by results of a confirmatory factor analysis (standardized root mean square residual = .051, root mean square error of approximation = .048, comparative fit index = .900) with a separate sample of 2,193 AP and IB students.

Citation / Publisher Attribution

Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, v. 33, issue 4, p. 339-356