Assessing stress in disability: Developing and piloting the Disability Related Stress Scale

Paula C. Rhode, Katherine Froehlich-Grobe, Jill R. Hockemeyer, Jordan A. Carlson, Jaehoon Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Stress negatively influences health, but few scales capture unique stressors encountered by people with physical disability. Objective/Hypothesis: Conduct a pilot study to develop and evaluate the factor structure of a stress measure targeting unique stressors facing people with physical limitations due to impaired movement of the upper and lower extremities. Methods: Development of the Disability Related Stress Scale (DRSS) included: (1) obtaining input regarding content and items from focus groups and outside experts and (2) piloting the instrument. Participants recruited from an independent living center attended a focus group or completed the pilot survey. The piloted measure was a 107 item two-part survey. Part 1 assessed stressors encountered over the past week and Part 2 assessed stressors encountered over the past six months. Participants included a convenience sample of 143 adults who experienced a physical limitation; 26 attended focus groups and 117 completed the instrument. Respondents were predominantly women (60%), Caucasian (58%), and unemployed (92%). Respondents were 50.51 6 14.46 years old and had lived with their disability for 15.64 6 13.04 years. Results: Exploratory factor analyses revealed a 4-factor solution for Part 1 and a 2-factor solution for Part 2 of the DRSS. Estimates of internal consistency (Part 1 Cronbach's α 5 .78-84; Part 2 Cronbach's α 5 .72) and factor loadings (.40-1.00 for Part 1; .43-.87 for Part 2) indicate adequate reliability for all subscales. Conclusions: Preliminary results provide initial support for the instrument's reliability and factor structure although further validation studies are warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)168-176
Number of pages9
JournalDisability and Health Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2012


  • Disabled persons
  • Health
  • Stress


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