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Evaluating the Perceived Stress Scale among UK university students: implications for stress measurement and management

Denovan, AM and Dagnall, N and Dhingra, K and Grogan, S (2017) Evaluating the Perceived Stress Scale among UK university students: implications for stress measurement and management. Studies in Higher Education, 44 (1). pp. 120-133. ISSN 0307-5079

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Abstract

University life can be stressful, and accurate measurement of perceived stress is important for research and practice. However, despite widespread use, disagreement persists regarding the latent structure of the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), which poses serious consequences for how the measure should be administered. Furthermore, factorial invariance between genders has not been established with the 10-item PSS, though gender differences in perceived stress have been detected. This study examined the factor structure, composite reliability, convergent validity, and gender invariance of the PSS-10 among 524 UK university students. Four distinct factor models (one-factor, correlated two-factor, correlated three-factor, and bifactor) were examined using confirmatory factor analysis. The totality of results supported a bifactor solution. Multi-group analysis established configural, metric, and scalar invariance of this model across gender. This study supports the use of total PSS-10 scores with UK university students and suggests the scale is not significantly affected by gender bias.

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