Purpose: Identify parent–child problem areas
Age: 1 month-12 years
Time: 20 minutes
Designed to evaluate the magnitude of stress in the parent-child system, the Parenting Stress Index, Fourth Edition (PSI-4) is a 120-item inventory that focuses on three major domains of stressor source:
- Child characteristics
- Parent characteristics
- Situational/demographic life stress
The PSI-4 is commonly used as a screening and triage measure for evaluating the parenting system and identifying issues that may lead to problems in the child's or parent's behaviour. This information may be used for designing a treatment plan, for setting priorities for intervention, and/or for follow-up evaluation.
Other common settings for administration of the PSI-4 include medical centres where children are receiving medical care, outpatient therapy settings, paediatric practices, and treatment outcome monitoring.
- Two domains, Child and Parent, combine to form the Total Stress scale. The Life Stress scale provides information about the amount of parent stress caused by factors outside the parent-child relationship
- Within the Child Domain, six subscales (Distractibility/Hyperactivity, Adaptability, Reinforces Parent, Demandingness, Mood, and Acceptability) evaluate sources of stress as gathered from the parent's report of child characteristics
- Within the Parent Domain, seven subscales (Competence, Isolation, Attachment, Health, Role Restriction, Depression, and Spouse/Parenting Partner Relationship) measure sources of stress related to parent characteristics
- Revised to improve the psychometric characteristics of subscales and domains and to update item wording to more clearly tap into the target construct or behavioural pattern or to be more understandable. The original structure has been retained
- Validation studies conducted within a variety of foreign populations, including Chinese, Portuguese, French Canadian, Finnish, and Dutch, suggest that the PSI is a robust measure that maintains its validity with diverse non-English speaking cultures
- Expanded norms are organised by each year of child age. Percentiles—the primary interpretive framework for the PSI-4—and T scores are provided
- One validity scale—Defensive Responding—indicates whether the parent is responding in a defensive manner
The PSI-4 can be administered and scored by hand and via Scoring Software (data from completed forms can be entered into the Software Portfolio, or counter serial numbers can be used for on screen administration).
Alternatively, the PSI-4 can be administered and scored online via PARiConnect.
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