Sandra Bell: Examination of the psychometric properties of the WHA Young Stress Scale: A measure of perceived stress for young Australian women.
This study examined the psychometric properties of validity and internal reliability for the WHA 'Young' Stress Scale, designed to measure perceived stress among young Australian women. Data from the young baseline survey of the The Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health study, and additional data collected from University of Newcastle undergraduates, were used for this purpose. There were 14,779 young women participants in the baseline study, and 111 in The University of Newcastle study, all aged between 18 and 23. The validity of the scale was determined by examining its relationships with other stress measures, mental health, physical symptoms, and health behaviours. The University of Newcastle data were also examined with two different scoring methods, and the differences between using a 6 and 12 month time frame were assessed. Results provided evidence that the scale is internally reliable, with a single stable factor. The scale was found to be related to mental health, physical symptoms, smoking, and alcohol consumption. Convergent validity was found with life events, feminine gender role stress, and daily hassles. The scoring method that takes into account only those items that respondents consider to be relevant to their lives, was found to have the highest correlations with the concurrently measured variables. It was concluded that the use of the WHA 'Young' Stress Scale to measure stress levels in young women in Australia was both a valid and appropriate use of the data. Due to the small numbers in the validation study, future research should entail a repetition of this study to strengthen the findings, and a re-test reliability study to determine the extent to which the construct measured by the scale is best seen as a state or trait characteristic.