Stress Diagnostic Survey


This measure, (Stress Diagnostic Survey) developed by Ivancevich and Matteson (1980), describes employee tension due to role ambiguity (five items), role conflict (five items), quantitative role overload (five items), qualitative role overload (five items), concerns about career development (five items), and responsibility for people (five items). The measure can also be used as a composite indica­ tor of the presence of job stressors (Nelson & Sutton, 1990).


Coefficient alpha values for the six subscales for role ambiguity, role conflict, quantitative overload, qualitative overload, concerns about career development, and responsibility for people ranged from .68 to .85 (Deluga, 1991; Rush et al., 1985). Coefficient alpha for the composite stress survey was .93 (Nelson & Sutton, 1990).


Job tension correlated positively with pressure for change, “hard” upward­ influence strategies by subordinates, and intention to quit. Job tension corre­lated negatively with job satisfaction, job involvement, and job challenge (Deluga, 199 l; Rush et al., 1985). The composite measure correlated nega­tively with employee job mastery and positively with concurrent and future period distress symptoms (Nelson & Sutton, 1990).


Ivancevich, J., & Matteson, M. (1980). Stress and work: A managerial per­spective. Glenview, IL: Scott,  Foresman.  Items  were  taken  from  text, pp. 118-120. Reprinted with permission.


Instructions and items:

The following questionnaire is designed to provide you with an indication of the extent to which various individual-level stressors are sources of stress to you. For each item you should indicate the frequency with which the condi­tion described is a source of stress.

Next to each item write the appropriate number which best describes how frequently the condition described is a source of stress.

Write l if the condition described is never a source of stress. Write 2 if it is rarely a source of stress.

Write 3 if it is occasionally a source of stress. Write 4 if it is sometimes a source of stress. Write 5 if it is often a source of stress.

Write 6 if it is usually a source of stress. Write 7 if it is always a source of stress.

  1. My job duties and work objectives are unclear to me.
  2. I work on unnecessary tasks or projects.
  3. I have to take work home in the evenings or on weekends to stay caught up.
  4. The demands for work quality made upon me are unreasonable.
  5. I lack the proper opportunities to advance in this organization.
  6. I am held accountable for the development of other employees.
  7. I am unclear about whom I report to and/or who reports to me.
  8. I get caught in the middle between my supervisors and my subordinates.
  9. I spend too much time in unimportant meetings that take me away from my work.
  10. My assigned tasks are sometimes too difficult and/or complex.
  11. If I want to get promoted, I have to look for a job with another organization.
  12. I am responsible for counseling with my subordinates and/or helping them solve their problems.
  13. I lack the authority to carry out my job responsibilities.
  14. The formal chain of command is not adhered to.
  15. I am responsible for an almost unmanageable number of projects or assignments at the same time.
  16. Tasks seem to be getting more and more complex.
  17. I am hurting my career progress by staying with this organization.
  18. I take action or make decisions that affect the safety or well-being of others.
  19. I do not fully understand what is expected of me.
  20. I do things on the job that are accepted by one person and not by others.
  21. I simply have more work to do than can be done in an ordinary day.
  22. The organization expects more of me than my skills and/or abilities provide.
  23. I have few opportunities to grow and learn new knowledge and skills in my job.
  24. My responsibilities in this organization are more for people than for things.
  25. I do not understand the part my job plays in meeting overall organizational objectives.
  26. I receive conflicting requests from two or more people.
  27. I feel that I just don’t have time to take an occasional break.
  28. I have insufficient training and/or experience to discharge my duties properly.
  29. I feel that I am at a standstill in my career.
  30. I have responsibility for the future (careers) of others.


Each item is associated with a specific individual-level stressor. The item numbers and the appropriate categories are listed below.

Role ambiguity: items 1, 7, 13, 19, 25

Role conflict: items 2, 8, 14, 20, 26

Role overload-quantitative: items 3, 9, 15, 21, 27

Role overload-qualitative: items 4,10, 16, 22, 28

Career development: items 5, 11, 17, 23, 29

Responsibility for people: items 6, 12, 18, 24, 30

The significance of the total score in each of the stressor categories will, of course, vary from individual to individual. In general, however, the follow­ ing guidelines may be used to provide a perspective for each total score:

Total scores in a category of less than 10are indicators of low stress levels. Total scores between 10 and 24 are indicative of moderate stress levels. Total scores of 25 and greater are indicative of high stress levels.

This content is licensed under a CC-BY license. The CC-BY licenses grant rights of use the scales in your studies (the measurement instrument and its documentation), but do not replace copyright. This remains with the copyright holder, and you have to cite us as the source.

Mohammed Looti, PSYCHOLOGICAL SCALES (2023) Stress Diagnostic Survey. Retrieved from DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.31575.96163