Parenting Stress Index

Please note that this tool is proprietary and may only be obtained by contacting the creators of the tool below. PerformWell cannot make this tool available in ETO.

Designed for use with parents of children 3 months to 12 years old. Primary population is parents of children 0-3 years of age. Parents complete the measure. Useful in prevention and intervention programs, assessment of child abuse risk, and forensic evaluation for child custody.

The full length PSI may include an optional 19-item Life Stress scale and  requires a 5th grade reading level. A short form (36 items) is available and was designed to measure stress in the parent-child system. The 36-item PSI-sf yields a Total Stress score from 3 scales: parental distress, parent-child dysfunctional interaction, and difficult child. 

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Administration Method
Number of Questions
Creator(s) of Tool
Loyd, B. H., & R. R. Abidin. R. R. (1985). Revision of the Parent Stress Index. Journal of Pediatric Psychiatry, 10(2), 169-177.
Scoring / Benchmarking
Generally, items are scored using the following 5-point scale: 1) SA (Strongly Agree), 2) A (Agree), 3) NS (Not Sure), 4) D (Disagree), and 5) SD (Strongly Disagree).
Background / Quality
The PSI has been empirically validated to predict observed parenting behavior and children's current and future behavioral and emotional adjustment, not only in a variety of U.S. populations but in a variety of international populations. The transcultural research has involved populations as diverse as Chinese, Portuguese, French Canadian, Italian, and Korean. These studies demonstrated comparable statistical characteristics to those reported in the PSI Manual, suggesting that the PSI is a robust diagnostic measure that maintains its validity with diverse non-English-speaking cultures. This ability to effectively survive translation and demonstrate its usefulness as a diagnostic tool with non-English-speaking populations suggests that it is likely to maintain its validity with a variety of different U.S. populations.

It is expected that the Short Form version of the PSI shares in the validity of the full-length version because it is a direct derivative of the longer form. Existing findings are consistent with this hypothesis. The PSI-SF has been found to be negatively associated with parenting self efficacy and positively related to the number of family risk factors (Raikes & Thompson, 2005). PSI-SF Difficult Child scores correlated in the expected direction with observations of maternal intrusiveness and sensitivity in a sample of mothers and 6-month-old infants (Calkins, Hungerford, & Dedmon, 2004).Maternal scores on the PSI-SF have also been found to be related to increased risk for developing insecure attachment in a sample of premature infants (Laganiére, Tessier, & Nadeau, 2003). In addition, maternal parenting concerns during pregnancy are related to later PSI-SF scores (Combs-Orme, Cain, & Wilson, 2004).

The PSI has been used in studies on Head Start (Grossman & Shigaki, 1994; Reitman, Currier,Stickle, 2002). In a sample of adolescent parents, PSI-SF scores were associated with partner violence, conflict over child, and economic stress (Larson, 2004). In a sample of foster care children and their caregivers, PSI-SF scores were related to participation in treatment, with kin caregivers more likely than non-kin
caregivers to complete treatment (PCIT) if they had higher levels of parenting stress (Timmer, Sedlar, & Urquiza, 2004). In a sample of military families, the PSI-SF was a significant predictor of Child Abuse Potential Scores for both mothers and fathers (Schaeffer, Alexander, Bethke, & Kretz, 2005).

Languages: English, Dutch, Korean, Chinese, Portuguese, French Canadian, Italian, French, Icelandic, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Serbian, Swedish, Greek
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