Psychological Stress Measure (PSM-9): integration of an evidence-based approach to assessment, monitoring, and evaluation of stress in physical therapy practice

Physiother Theory Pract. 2009 Jul;25(5-6):453-62. doi: 10.1080/09593980902886321.


Stress can be a primary or secondary contributor to ill health via excessive and sustained sympathetic arousal leading to ischemic heart disease, hypertension, stroke, obesity, and mental ill health, or through related behaviors such as smoking, substance abuse, and over or inappropriate eating; or as a contextual variable in terms of risk factor and lifestyle outcome. In addition, psychosocial stress can impair recovery from any pathological insult or injury. Most assessments of stress relate to life events, and both past and current life stressors, acute and chronic, play a major role. However, beyond the impact of stressors, it is the reported state of feeling stressed that is the critical predictor of ill health. This article describes stress and its correlates, discusses models of stress, and presents the nine-item Psychological Stress Measure (PSM-9). This tool is aimed directly at the state of feeling stressed, is suited for assessing stress clinically in the general population and serving as an outcome measure. The tool is valid and reliable and easy to administer in health care settings; it has a normal distribution, which makes it a very sensitive-to-change instrument in repeated measures to document progress.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Evidence-Based Medicine*
  • Humans
  • Mental Health
  • Models, Psychological
  • Physical Therapy Modalities*
  • Physical Therapy Specialty*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Stress, Psychological / complications
  • Stress, Psychological / diagnosis*
  • Stress, Psychological / therapy*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*