PSI-4 Parental Stress Index

Richard R. Abidin, EdD

Designed to evaluate the magnitude of stress in the parent–child system, the fourth edition of the popular PSI is a 120-item inventory that focuses on three major domains of stress: child characteristics, parent characteristics, and situational/demographic life stress.

The PSI-4 is commonly used as a screening and triage measure for evaluating the parenting system and identifying issues that may lead to problems in the child’s or parent’s behavior. This information may be used for designing a treatment plan, for setting priorities for intervention, and/or for follow-up evaluation. Other common settings for administration of the PSI-4 include medical centers where children are receiving medical care, outpatient therapy settings, pediatric practices, and treatment outcome monitoring.

Features and benefits
Revised to improve the psychometric characteristics of subscales and domains and to update item wording to more clearly tap into the target construct or behavioral pattern or to be more understandable. The original structure has been retained.
Validation studies conducted within a variety of foreign populations, including Chinese, Portuguese, French Canadian, Finnish, and Dutch, suggest that the PSI is a robust measure that maintains its validity with diverse non-English-speaking cultures.
Expanded norms are organized by each year of child age. Percentiles—the primary interpretive framework for the PSI-4— and T scores are provided.
One validity scale—Defensive Responding—indicates whether the parent is responding in a defensive manner.

Test structure
Two domains, Child and Parent, combine to form the Total Stress scale. The Life Stress scale provides information about the amount of parent stress caused by factors outside the parent-child relationship.
Within the Child Domain, six subscales (Distractibility/Hyperactivity, Adaptability, Reinforces Parent, Demandingness, Mood, and Acceptability) evaluate sources of stress as gathered from the parent’s report of child characteristics.
Within the Parent Domain, seven subscales (Competence, Isolation, Attachment, Health, Role Restriction, Depression, and Spouse/Parenting Partner Relationship) measure sources of stress related to parent characteristics.

Technical information
All-new normative data were collected from a sample of 534 mothers and 522 fathers stratified to match the demographic composition of the 2007 U.S. Census.
Coefficient alpha reliability coefficients based on the responses of individuals in the normative sample ranged from .78 to .88 for Child Domain subscales and from .75 to .87 for Parent Domain subscales. Reliability coefficients for the two domains and the Total Stress scale were .96 or greater, indicating a high degree of internal consistency for these measures.
Test-retest reliability coefficients, obtained through several studies, ranged from .55 to .82 for the Child Domain, from .69 to .91 for the Parent Domain, and from .65 to .96 for the Total Stress score.
Validity has been investigated in studies that focused on at-risk children, attachment, ADHD, child abuse, forensic contexts, medical treatment adherence, substance abuse, parental depression, and more


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20-30 minutes

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Stress Parent/Child

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