Student Stress Inventory

Fimian, M. J., et al. (1989). The measure of classroom stress and burnout among gifted and talented students. Psychology in the Schools 26:139–53.


Over 90 percent of the experts concluded that the items on the SSI were related to student stress. Interrater reliability was high. Factor analysis yielded five interpretable factors. The factors found in the Student Stress Inventory (SSI) are similar to those found in the Teacher Stress Inventory. The authors suggest further work on content validation and adding items to two of the scales to increase their reliability.

Scale Construction:

Based on a review of the literature, a pilot form of the SSI was created and completed by 311 gifted students. At the same time, a group of 14 experts assessed the content validity of the SSI by determining the relevancy between each item and student stress. Items with 60 percent agreement were retained. Relevancy mean scores were studied. Nineteen items were deleted because they had factor loadings of less than 0.35. Additional factor and reliability analyses were conducted to further refine the SSI. The final version contains 41 items.


The sample consisted of 311 gifted students from Florida, North and South Carolina, and Virginia who attended summer camp at Appalachian State University in North Carolina.


Alpha coefficients (Cronbach) were 0.85 (student distress); 0.63 (social/academic problems); 0.83 (emotional manifestations; 0.76 (behavioral manifestations); and 0.80 (physiological manifestations). The total scale alpha was 0.80.


Items were written after a review of the observational and conceptual literature, thereby establishing face validity. Fourteen experts assessed the content validity of the SSI by comparing the items to the construct of student stress. A relevancy mean score for each subscale was computed. Expert ratings, means, percentages, and interrater reliabilities are reported. The concurrent validity of the SSI was determined by correlating student stress with student burnout (Maslach Burnout Inventory), student stress with tedium (the Tedium Measure), and student stress with Qual- ity of School Life (Epstein and McPortland, 1978).

Factor Analysis:

Principal components factor analyses were conducted with oblique and varimax rotations. The results of the oblique rotation yielded five factors. The five factors are: 14 items on student distress (27, 22, 28, 23, 3, 16, 13, 11, 4, 25, 15, 7, 1, and 10); six items on social/academic problems (20, 24, 26, 31, 18, and 21); 10 items on emotional manifestations (37, 43, 36, 52, 55, 41, 47, 32, 49, and 35); six items on behavioral manifestations (56, 59, 53, 42, 48, and 60); and six items on physiological manifestations (45, 44, 57, 34, 50, and 54). Component loadings, means, and standard deviations are reported.

Definition of Factors:

Student distress refers to negative feelings about school, including not having enough time to relax and enjoy the day and feeling unimportant in school. Social/academic problems refer to various social and aca- demic problems in school that contribute to stress such as having to do the same things in school week after week. Emotional manifestations refer to the emotional ways students react to stress such as feeling cranky. Behavioral manifestations refer to the techniques that students use to respond to stress such as acting defensively with others. Physiological manifestations refer to reactions such as eating more or less than usual and breaking out in a cold sweat.


D’Aurora, D. L., and Fimian, M. J. (1988). Dimensions of life and school stress experienced by young people. Psychology in the Schools 25:44–52.

Epstein, J. L., and McPortland, J. M. (1978). Administration and technical manual: The Quality of School Life Scale. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin.

Fimian, M. J., and Cross, A. H. (1986). Stress and burnout among preadolescent and early adolescent gifted students: A preliminary investigation. Journal of Early Adolescence 6:247–67.

Pines, A. M., et al. (1981). Burnout: From tedium to personal growth. New York: Free Press.

Student Stress Inventory

1. I have enough time to relax and enjoy the school day.
2. I have to deal with too many people each day.
3. I am important in school.
4. I am excited about the things I learn in school.
5. There are too many interruptions in my daily classroom routine.
6. I am all alone when I am at school.
7. I know exactly what is expected of me in school.
8. The school day seems to go either too fast or too slow for me.
9. My teacher(s) doesn’t have enough time for me.

10. How well I did before in school really matters to my teacher(s) today.
11. It is easy for me to talk to my teachers.
12. Everyone else in my class gets the “lucky breaks.”
13. I feel physically comfortable in my classroom or school.
14. My grades are good enough.
15. I feel comfortable with the different ways in which my teachers teach.
16. My teacher(s) likes me.
17. I am helpless or hopeless.
18. We seem to do the same things in my classes week after week.
19. I feel no pressure to get my school work done.
20. I don’t remember everything that I learn in school.
21. Some of my classmates get better treatment than I do.
22. I easily make friends and follow up interests out of school.
23. The information my teacher(s) gives me helps me do better in school.
24. Some of my teachers have too much power over me.
25. I am learning a lot in school.
26. My parents expect too much of me in school.
27. I am accepted by the other students.
28. My classmates really care about what I think and feel.
29. Tests and quizzes make me nervous.
30. I am not progressing in my studies rapidly enough.
31. I have too much information to deal with on a daily basis.

I respond to stress at school by/with . . .

 32. feeling insecure.
33. not being able to sit still.
34. rapid breathing.
35. putting things off to another day.
36. feeling scared.
37. feeling worried.
38. crying.
39. feeling dizzy.
40. becoming tired in a very short time.
41. feeling anxious.
42. acting defensively with others.
43. feeling pressured.
44. stomach pain of extended duration.
45. stomach acid.
46. sleeping more than usual.
47. feeling unable to cope with school.
48. allowing my friendships to fall apart.
49. feeling vulnerable.
50. feeling of increased blood pressure.
51. feeling physically exhausted.
52. feeling depressed.
53. “bad mouthing” certain classmates, teachers, or school staff.
54. feeling my heart pounding or racing.
55. feeling angry.
56. picking on someone else.
57. getting stomach cramps.
58. not talking to anybody.
59. talking back to teachers.

60. calling in sick.


No Strength; not noticeable = 1; Of Mild Strength; barely noticeable = 2; Of Medium Strength; moderately noticeable = 3; Of Great Strength; very noticeable = 4; and Of Major Strength; extremely noticeable = 5.