Stressful life events among adolescents: The development of a new measure

Indian J Psychiatry. 2007 Apr;49(2):96-102. doi: 10.4103/0019-5545.33255.


Background: Adolescence can be a stressful time for children, parents and adults who work with teens. We believe that a scale measuring the events perceived as stressful by an average Indian adolescent is necessary due to the presence of irrelevant items and absence of items related to our culture on foreign scales.

Aim: This study was done to adapt and test the validity of a scale measuring stress caused due to life events in an Indian adolescent; to assess clinical value of the instrument in exploring causal relationships between stressful events and behavioral problems; and to compare the degree of overlap in stress-causing events between adolescents and their parents during the same timeframe.

Materials and methods: An adolescent life event stress scale (ALESS) containing 41 items was administered to 156 adolescents for formulation and 102 adolescents for validation. A third set of 112 adolescents was used to compare ALESS scores with child behavior checklist (CBCL) scores and parental stress scores due to life events.

Results: The comparison showed a strong positive correlation with CBCL scores with a model fit (r(2) = 0.32) and a weak positive correlation with parental stress (Pearson's coefficient = 0.011) due to life events.

Conclusion: Thus, a life event scale for adolescents was especially adapted to the Indian conditions.

Keywords: Adolescent; scale; stressful life event.