Early Literacy Research Library (ELRL) - Metric

Perceived Stress Scale (PSS)


Access: FREE/Open Access

Download the full text(s): PSS

evaluation focus

Perceived Stress Levels

applicable ages

144+ months; 12+ years

available language(s)

English, Spanish, and 10+ Others (Portuguese, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Hebrew, Greek, Italian, German, Moroccan, Chinese, Bengali, Tamil, Urdu, and Arabic)


FREE download through the library


The Perceived Stress Scale (PSS-10) is an instrument that can be used to measure stress levels in children (age 12 and above) and adults. Through 10 items using a five point likert scale from “never” to “very often”, the PSS assesses an individual’s perception of life as unpredictable, uncontrollable and overloading over the previous month.


10 Scales/Subscales: “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?
    • How often have you felt nervous and stressed?
    • How often have you felt confident about your ability to handle your personal problems?
    • How often have you felt that things were going your way?
    • How often have you found that you could not cope with all the things that you had to do?
    • How often have you been able to control irritations in your life?
    • How often have you felt that you were on top of things?
    • How often have you been angered because of things that happened that were outside of your control?
    • How often have you felt difficulties were piling up so high that you could not overcome them?


Administration Format: self-report questionnaire

Administration Format: 5-10 minutes


Reliability (Lee 2012; Kechter 2019; Liu 2020):

    • Internal Consistency: good internal consistency indicated in both adult populations, university student populations, American adolescents, and Chinese adolescents.
    • Test-Retest: adequate in adults over a 2 and 4 week delay.

Validity (Lee 2012; Liu 2020; Sood 2013):

    • Convergent Validity: scores correlated positively with stress in Chinese adolescents
    • Concurrent Validity: scores correlated positively with measures of anxiety and depression in adult populations, university student populations, and adolescents.


NOTE on Downloadable Metric: The PSS is free to use. Permission for use of scales is not necessary when use is for non-profit academic research or non-profit educational purposes. For other uses, please find information on permissions by following the link here: https://www.cmu.edu/dietrich/psychology/stress-immunity-disease-lab/scales/revised-pss-request-reply-for-all-requests.pdf


Source: https://www.corc.uk.net/outcome-experience-measures/perceived-stress-scale-pss-10

supporting literature

Lee, E. (2012) Review of the Psychometric Evidence of the Perceived Stress Scale. Asian Nursing Research, 6(4), 121-127.
PDF: PSS – 1 – Lee 2012
Link: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1976131712000527?via%3Dihub

Ezzati, A., et al. (2014) Validation of the Perceived Stress Scale in a Community Sample of Older Adults. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 29)6), 645-652.
PDF: PSS – 2 – Ezzati 2014
Link: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/gps.4049

Baik, S.H., et al. (2019) Reliability and Validity of the Perceived Stress Scale-10 in Hispanic Americans with English or Spanish Language Preference. Journal of Health Psychology, 24(5), 628-639.
PDF: PSS – 3 – Baik 2019
Link: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1359105316684938?url_ver=Z39.88-2003&rfr_id=ori:rid:crossref.org&rfr_dat=cr_pub%20%200pubmed

Sood, S., Bakhshi, A., Devi, P. (2013) An Assessment of Perceived Stress, Resilience and Mental Health of Adolescents Living in Border Areas. International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications, 3(1), 1-4.

Kechter, A., Black, D.S., Riggs, N.R., Warren, C. M., Ritt-Olson, A., Chou, C.P., & Pentz, M.A. (2019). Factors in the Perceived Stress Scale Differentially Associate with Mindfulness Disposition and Executive Function Among Early Adolescents. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 28(3), 814-821.