Parenting Stress Index, Short Form
- Parallel/Alternate Forms
- Translation Quality
- Population Information
- Pros & Cons/References
Abidin, R. R. (1995). Parenting Stress Index, Third Edition: Professional Manual. Odessa, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources, Inc.
This measure is a brief version of the Parenting Stress Index (Abidin, 1995), a widely used and well-researched measure of parenting stress (the full PSI is also reviewed in this database). The PSI-SF has 36 items from the original 120-item PSI. Items are identical to those in the original version.
The version was developed in response to clinicians’ and researchers’ need for a shorter measure of parenting stress and was based on Castaldi’s (1990) factor analysis of the original PSI, which suggested the presence of three factors.
Consistent with this analysis, the PSI-SF yields scores on the following subscales: 1) Parental Distress, 2) Parent-Child Dysfunctional Interaction, and 3) Difficult Child. Similar to the full PSI, it also has a validity scale.
In general, 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).
|Defensive responding||not available|
|Total stress||Parental distress||not available|
|Parent-child dysfunctional interaction||not available|
|Difficult child||not available|
The PSI-Full-Length Version, upon which this measure is based, has 120 items. This measure is also reviewed in the database.
Studies examining gender differences produced no significant differences (Baker et al, 2003; Deater-Deckard & Scarr, 1996; Schiller, 2003).
|Test-Retest- # days: 360||Acceptable||0.68||0.85||76|
|Internal Consistency||Acceptable||Cronbach's alpha||0.8||0.91||85|
Test-retest data are for the entire normative sample of 800 parents.
Total Stress (.84), Parental Distress (.85), Parent-Child Dysfunctional Interaction (.68),
Difficult Child (.78)
INTERNAL CONSISTENCY (Cronbach’s alpha)
Normative sample: Total Stress (.91), Parental Distress (.87), Parent-Child Dysfunctional
Interaction (.80), Difficult Child (.85)
Assessed in 103 Head Start parents: Total Stress (.90), Parental Distress (.79), Parent-
Child Dysfunctional Interaction (.80), Difficult Child (.78)
The development of the PSI-Full-Length Version, upon which this measure is based, is
described in the PSI review in this database. The Short Form was developed using factor
analysis (see Notes below).
|Validity Type||Not known||Not found||Nonclincal Samples||Clinical Samples||Diverse Samples|
|Sensitive to Change||Yes|
|Sensitive to Theoretically Distinct Groups||Yes||Yes||Yes|
The PSI/SF was developed from factor analysis of the PSI-Full-Length Version.
Principal components factor analysis with a varimax rotation was conducted, and
items were retained based on the criteria of having factor loadings >.4 on only 1
factor (although some exceptions were made to this criteria). Data from a
second sample was used to replicate the factor analysis.
The PSI-SF has been found to be negatively associated with parenting selfefficacy
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, &
The PSI/SF has been found to correlate with the Full-Length form: Total Stress
and Total Stress=.94, Parental Distress and Parent Domain=.92, Difficult Child
and Child Domain=.87.
PSI-SF scores decreased significantly following a prevention program for neglect
conducted with a high-risk, predominantly African American sample.
Improvements were maintained at 6-month follow-up (DePanfilis & Dubowitz,
2005). They have also been found to change following participation in a child
crisis care program (rural sample; Cowen, 1998) and a parent education
program (Wolfe & Hirsch, 2003).
PSI-SF scores appear to differentiate between a number of different groups
including: 1) mothers of toddlers with expressive language delays versus a
comparison group (Irwin, Carter, & Briggs-Gowan, 2002), 2) substance abusing
mothers versus nonsubstance-abusing mothers (low income, predominantly
African American sample; Kelley, 1998), and 3) parents of depressed children
versus parents of non-depressed children (Tan & Rey, 2005).
STUDIES WITH TRAUMA POPULATIONS (and related studies)
1. In a sample of adolescent parents, PSI-SF scores were associated with
partner violence, conflict over child, and economic stress (Larson, 2004).
2. 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).
3. 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).
4. In a sample of 47 children referred to treatment due to sexual behavior
problems (25% had been sexually abused, 47% had experienced physical
abuse, 58% had witnessed interparental violence), PSI-SF mean scores were
shown to be elevated (Silovsky & Niec, 2002).
5. Mothers sexually abused as children reported higher levels of parenting
stress than did non-abused mothers (Douglas, 2000).
6. The PSI-SF was used to validate an analysis that identified two clusters of
abusive parents. “Cluster 1: parents were warm, positive, sensitive, and
engaged during interactions with children whereas Cluster 2 parents were
relatively negative, disengaged, or intrusive, and insensitive.” Cluster 1 parents
had lower PSI-SF scores than did Cluster 1 parents (Haskett, Smith, & Sabourin,
7. Parents of children with traumatic brain injuries have been found to have
higher PSI-SF scores than did parents of uninjured children (Hawley, Ward,
Magnay, & Long, 2003).
STUDIES WITH DIVERSE POPULATIONS
1. The PSI-SF has been used in a number of studies with parents of children
with health problems and disabilities, with evidence of relation between parenting
stress and support, income, and children’s health care needs and impairment,
thus supporting its validity (Button, Pianta, & Marvin, 2001; Smith, Oliver, &
Innocenti, 2001; Waisbren et al., 2004).
2. The measure has also been used with parents of children with autism, with
maladaptive and adaptive child behavior being related to PSI-SF scores
(Tomanik, Harris, & Hawkins, 2004).
3. The PSI-SF has been used in numerous studies with adolescent parents,
with data supporting its validity in this population (e.g., Spencer, Kalill, Larson,
Spieker, & Gilchrist, 2002).
4. Reitman, Currier, & Stickle (2002) examined the psychometrics of the
PSI/SF in a sample of 196 lower-income, predominantly ethnic minority parents
(85% African American) recruited during Head Start orientation meetings. They
reported good internal consistencies: Parental Distress (.88), Parent-Child
Dysfunctional Interaction (.88), Difficult Child (.89), Total Stress (.95). A
confirmatory factor analysis suggested that a 3-factor model was only somewhat
more superior to a single-factor model.
However, results of multiple regression analyses supported a 3-factor model.
Regression analyses for difficult child found that the CPRS-R, Brief Symptom
Inventory (BSI), and family income contributed variance. Regression analyses
for Parent-Child Dysfunctional Interaction and Parental Distress showed that the
BSI and family income contributed significant variance. These analyses provide
support for the concurrent validity of the measure.
5. All scales of the PSI-SF were found to be related to mothers’ strategies for
facilitating peer interactions in a sample of low-income African American mothers
6. The measure has been used with Kenyan grandmothers, with data providing
support for the validity of the measure in this population (Oburu & Palmërus,
7. Two studies have examined the use of the measure with Chinese-speaking
groups. In a sample of Taiwanese parents, parents of children with cancer
showed higher PSI-SF scores than those of parents of children with
developmental disabilities (Hung, Wu, & Yeh, 2004). The study also shows
internal consistency for all PSI-SF scales >.80.
8. In an Italian sample, PSI-SF scores were associated with Type A Behavior
Pattern scores (Forgays, Ottaway, Guarino, & D’Alessio, 2001).
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.
|Language:||Translated||Back Translated||Reliable||Good Psychometrics||Similar Factor Structure||Norms Available||Measure Developed for this Group|
From Abidin, 1995:
Sample: 570 mothers selected from a well-care pediatric practice in Virginia and 270 mothers from the same practice.
Age of Children: 10-84 months (M=43, SD=9.7)
Gender: 47% female, 53% male
Children’s Ethnicity: 87% White, 10% African American, and 3% Other
Marital status: 88% married, 6% single, 4% divorced, and 2% separated
Education: 8th grade or less (22.5%), 9th-12th (37.4% ), vocational or some college (37.4%), and college graduates (37.4%)
|Population Type:||Measure Used with Members of this Group||Members of this Group Studied in Peer-Reviewed Journals||Reliable||Good Psychometrics||Norms Available||Measure Developed for this Group|
|1. Developmental disability||Yes|
|2. Lower socio-economic status||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|3. Rural populations||Yes||Yes|
|4. African Americans||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Pros & Cons/References
1. The measure offers a quick, easy way to screen for parenting stress.
2. The psychometric properties of the PSI-SF look good.
3. The measure is widely used.
4. The concept of parenting stress is an important one for families that have experienced traumatic events.
1. The Short Form version of the PSI examines the parent-child dyad in much less depth than does the full-length version.
2. The measure is face valid, and in mandated samples (as with other measures), many parents score low even when they have high levels of stress. Although this can be addressed with the validity scale, it is nevertheless a problem when conducting outcome research.
3. The ability of the measure to detect change due to treatment in clinical populations and in trauma samples has not yet been examined; however, studies are under way, and it is expected that the short form will have similar results as those found with the full version.
4. Some researchers who have attempted to use a Spanish version of this measure with low-income communities have found that research participants have a hard time understanding specific items. The problem does not seem to stem from the translation itself but with the use of double negatives, which may be harder to process in the Spanish language.
The reference for the manual is:
Abidin, R. R. (1995). Parenting Stress Index, Third Edition: Professional Manual. Psychological Assessment Resources, Inc.
A PsychInfo search (6/05) of the words "Parenting Stress Index-Short Form" or “PSI” anywhere revealed that the measure has been referenced in 87 peer-reviewed journal articles. Below is a sample:
1. Baker, B., McIntyre, L., Blacher, J., Crnic, K., Edelbrock, C. & Low, C. (2003) Preschool children with and without developmental delay: behaviour problems and parenting stress over time. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 47, 217–230.
2. Bhavnagri, N. P. (1999). Low-income African American mothers' parenting stress and instructional strategies to promote peer relationships in preschool children. Early Education & Development, 10(4), 551-571.
3. Button, S., Pianta, R. C., & Marvin, R. S. (2001). Partner support and maternal stress in families raising young children with cerebral palsy. Journal of Developmental & Physical Disabilities, 13(1), 61-81.
4. Calkins, S. D., Hungerford, A., & Dedmon, S. E. (2004). Mothers' interactions with temperamentally frustrated infants. Infant Mental Health Journal, 25(3), 219-239.
5. Combs-Orme, T., Cain, D. S., & Wilson, E. E. (2004). Do maternal concerns at delivery predict parenting stress during infancy? Child Abuse & Neglect, 28(4), 377-392.
6. Cowen, P. S. (1998). Crisis child care: An intervention for at-risk families. Issues in Comprehensive Pediatric Nursing, 21(3), 147-158.
7. Deater-Deckard, K., & Scarr, S. (1996). Parenting stress among dual-earner mother and fathers: Are there gender differences. Journal of Family Psychology, 10(1), 45-59.
8. DePanfilis, D., & Dubowitz, H. (2005). Family connections: A program for preventing child neglect. Child Maltreatment: Journal of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children, 10(2), 108-123.
9. Douglas, A. R. (2000). Reported anxieties concerning intimate parenting in women sexually abused as children. Child Abuse & Neglect, 24(3), 425-434.
10. Forgays, D. K., Ottaway, S. A., Guarino, A., & D'Alessio, M. (2001). Parenting stress in employed and at-home mothers in Italy. Journal of Family & Economic Issues, 22(4), 327-351.
11. Haskett, M. E., Smith Scott, S., & Sabourin Ward, C. (2004). Subgroups of physically abusive parents based on cluster analysis of parenting behavior and affect. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 74, 436-447.
12. Hawley C A, Ward A B, Magnay A & Long J., (2004). Outcomes following childhood head injury: a population study., Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry, 75(5), 737 – 742.
13. Hung, J. W., Wu, Y., & Yeh, C. (2004). Comparing stress levels of parents of children with cancer and parents of children with physical disabilities. Psycho-Oncology, 13(12), 898-903.
14. Irwin, J. R., Carter, A. S., & Briggs-Gowan, M. J. (2002). The social-emotional development of "late-talking" toddlers. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 41(11), 1324-1332.
15. Kelley, S. J. (1998). Stress and coping behaviors of substance-abusing mothers. Journal of the Society of Pediatric Nurses, 3(3), 103-110.
16. Laganiére, J., Tessier, R., & Nadeau, L. (2003). Mother-infant attachment and prematurity: A link mediatized by maternal perceptions/Attachement dans le cas de prématurité: Un lien médiatisé par les perceptions maternelles. Enfance, 55(2) 101-117.
17. Larson, N. C. (2004). Parenting stress among adolescent mothers in the transition to adulthood. Child & Adolescent Social Work Journal, 21(5), 457-476.
18. Oburu, P. O., & Palmërus, K. (2003). Parenting stress and self-reported discipline strategies of Kenyan caregiving grandmothers. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 27(6), 505-512.
19. Raikes, H. A., & Thompson, R. A. (2005). Efficacy and social support as predictors of parenting stress among families in poverty. Infant Mental Health Journal, 26(3), 177-190.
20. Reitman, D., Currier, R. O., & Stickle, T. R. (2002). A critical evaluation of the parenting stress index-short form (PSI-SF) in a Head Start population. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 31(3), 384-392.
21. Schaeffer, C. M., Alexander, P. C., Bethke, K., & Kretz, L. S. (2005). Predictors of child
abuse potential among military parents: Comparing mothers and fathers. Journal of Family
Violence, 20(2), 123-129.
22. Silovsky, J. F., & Niec, L. (2002). Characteristics of young children with sexual behavior problems: A pilot study. Child Maltreatment: Journal of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children, 7(3), 187-197.
23. Smith, T. B., Oliver, M. N. I., & Innocenti, M. S. (2001). Parenting stress in families of children with disabilities. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 71(2), 257-261.
24. Spencer, M. S., Kalill, A., Larson, N. C., Spieker, S. J., & Gilchrist, L. D. (2002). Multigenerational coresidence and childrearing conflict: Links to parenting stress in teenage mothers across the first two years postpartum. Applied Developmental Science, 6(3) 157-170.
25. Tan, S., & Rey, J. (2005). Depression in the young, parental depression and parenting stress. Australasian Psychiatry, 13(1) 76-79.
26. Timmer, S. G., Sedlar, G., & Urquiza, A. J. (2004). Challenging children in kin versus nonkin foster care: Perceived costs and benefits to caregivers. Child Maltreatment: Journal of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children, 9(3), 251-262.
27. Tomanik, S., Harris, G. E., & Hawkins, J. (2004). The relationship between behaviours exhibited by children with autism and maternal stress. Journal of Intellectual & Developmental Disability, 29(1), 16-26.
28. Waisbren, S. E., Rones, M., Read, C. Y., Marsden, D., & Levy, H. L. (2004). Brief report: Predictors of parenting stress among parents of children with biochemical genetic disorders. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 29(7), 565-570.
29. Wolfe, R. B., & Hirsch, B. J. (2003). Outcomes of parent education programs based on
reevaluation counseling. Journal of Child & Family Studies, 12(1) 61-76.
Other Related References
1. Abidin, R. A. (1976). Parenting skills. New York: Human Sciences Press.