Faculty Sponsor, if applicable
Adolescents’ stressful life experiences are typically measured using a survey approach, which can limit the depth and precision of self-reports of chronic stress. The aim of this study was to compare the predictive validity of a structured chronic stress interview to a widely used survey measure of stressful life experiences. Data came from two waves of a longitudinal study on adolescent stress and coping. Participants were 386 students (65% female) from one high school and two elementary schools in Chicago—composed of predominantly low-income students—and were 13.1 years old on average. At baseline and one year later, participants completed the Urban Adolescent Life Experiences Scale (UALES), which examines chronic and episodic stress in several categories. A subset of participants (n = 47) also completed the structured UCLA Life Stress Interview (LSI), which measured chronic stress experienced over the past six months across a number of domains. Results indicated that severity scores from the LSIs were associated with the major events and daily hassles subscales of the UALES as well as internalizing and externalizing symptoms. Our findings suggest that structured interviews of stressful life experiences, although more cumbersome to score, contribute additional richness to our understanding of adolescent chronic stress.
Type of Research
Graduate Student - Independent Study