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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 250-254

Preprimary stress questionnaire: A tool to assess stress in preprimary school students

1 Department of Physiology, Veer Surendra Sai Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, Burla, Odisha, India
2 Department of Anatomy, IMS and SUM Hospital, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India

Date of Web Publication2-Sep-2016

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Sunil Kumar Jena
Department of Physiology, Veer Surendra Sai Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, Burla - 768 017, Odisha
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2395-2296.189674

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Aim: Students of preprimary age group are facing stress in school because of life events such as curricular and social factors. Prolonged stress of those children may lead to different types of health hazards in future life. Thus, the aim of this study was to construct a questionnaire which may be used to find out severity of stress among preprimary students. Methods: It was a descriptive study based on teacher report. Five hundred and five students were selected by random sampling for this study by questionnaire method, and the report was given by teachers. The questionnaire used for this study was preprimary stress questionnaire. After collection of data, the questionnaires were analyzed for Cronbach's alpha (α) coefficient for reliability and content validity index (CVI) for validity of questionnaire. Result: Corrected item-total correlation of all items was more than 0.3, so all items were included in questionnaire. Cronbach's alpha coefficient of questionnaire was found to be 0.925 and it lied between 0.87 and 1. Conclusion: After data analysis it was found that the Cronbach's alpha coefficient value was excellent and CVI was acceptable. Thus, this questionnaire was a reliable and valid instrument for assessment of severity of stress in preprimary school students, so that the future health hazards of children are prevented.

Keywords: Preprimary students, reliability, stress, validity

How to cite this article:
Jena SK, Mohanty B. Preprimary stress questionnaire: A tool to assess stress in preprimary school students. Int J Educ Psychol Res 2016;2:250-4

How to cite this URL:
Jena SK, Mohanty B. Preprimary stress questionnaire: A tool to assess stress in preprimary school students. Int J Educ Psychol Res [serial online] 2016 [cited 2020 Jul 14];2:250-4. Available from: http://www.ijeprjournal.org/text.asp?2016/2/4/250/189674

  Introduction Top

Preprimary is child's first experience in the formal education system. It is an anxious experience for children and parents as well. Parents send their children to preprimary school with positive thinking that their child will learn better people skills. Instead, they develop new behavioral problems such as anxiety, depression, and aggression. In the 21st century, students are coming from different socioeconomic background. Some students are academically engaged and participate energetically in class and extracurricular activities, whereas others are less engaged and achieve poorly.[1] Proper developmental skills are very much essential for future life of a child. Many students become more disengaged from school as they progress from preprimary to higher classes. It is estimated that 40–60% of urban, suburban, and rural high-school students become chronically disengaged from school–not counting those who already dropped out.[2] All these statements presented here shows the evidence that preprimary school students definitely experience stress though the severity of stress varies between students.

Stress may be defined as a nonspecific response or reaction of the body with respect to its demand or to disturbing events occurring in the surrounding environment.[3],[4] In a broad sense, it is not just a stimulus or a response but is a process by which individuals perceive and cope with the body's demand or to environmental threats and challenges.[5] Personal and environmental events that cause stress are known as stressors.[6] In short, stress is defined as emotional disturbance or change caused by stressors. The same stressors may be perceived differently by different individuals depending on their cultural background, personal traits, experience, and coping skills.

A natural place where stress can manifest itself in children is the school. It is quite common for children to feel some form of stress, anxiety, and uneasiness in school. The increase in the amount of homework, competition for good grades, fear of failure, peer pressure, and bullying are some of the more common reasons for stress in school.[7] Anxiety over situations such as answering and asking questions in class, attending social events, showing assertiveness, and being in front of peers can often times lead to avoidance of many different social situations, including school.[8] Long-term avoidance of these situations can create behavioral patterns that may interfere with developmental growth in students.[8] The avoidance of these situations can also lead to other problems such as poor school performance, depression, and possible substance abuse in higher class students.[8]

Stress and anxiety can be viewed as a cause and effect of poor school performance. Students can be overwhelmed which causes anxiety, and then in turn their poor performance can produce more anxiety.[9] Stress and anxiety can interfere with focusing attention, learning, and test-taking.[9] According to Woolfolk, highly anxious students feel the need to divide their attention between learning the new information being presented while worrying about the evaluation of the information being taught.[9] Many highly anxious students have poor study skills, and if the information being presented is not done so in a well-organized manner, the anxiety levels in these students may increase.[9] During the period of examination, many students find it hard to demonstrate the knowledge due to lack of skills.[10] Children who are targets of peers' aggressive behaviors are at higher risk for adjustment problems, including depression, anxiety, stress, low motivation in school, loneliness, and dropping out.[11]

Selye published, in 1975, a model dividing stress into eustress and distress. Where stress motivates and enhances performance, it may be considered eustress. Persistent stress that is not resolved through coping or adaptation was considered as distress.[12]

Assessment of stress by questionnaire is a very easy and cost-effective method. Thus, when a questionnaire is developed, it must be a reliable and a valid one. Cronbach's alpha (α) will generally increase as the intercorrelations among test items increase and is thus known as an internal consistency estimate of reliability of test scores. Because intercorrelations among test items are maximized when all items measure the same construct, Cronbach's alpha is widely believed to indirectly indicate the degree to which a set of items measures a single one-dimensional latent construct. However, the average intercorrelations among test items are affected by skew just like any other average. Indeed, several investigators have shown that alpha can take on quite high values even when the set of items measures several unrelated latent constructs.[13],[14],[15],[16] As a result, alpha is most appropriately used when the items measure different substantive areas within a single construct. Cronbach's alpha value varies from 0 to 1. A questionnaire is considered to have a high internal consistency if the total alpha value is more than 0.7.[17]

  Methods Top

The study was conducted in the Department of Physiology, Veer Surendra Sai Institute of Medical Sciences and Research (VIMSAR), Burla, Odisha, India. It was conducted for a period of 6 months from January 2015 to June 2015 after getting ethical approval by the Institutional Ethical Committee, VIMSAR. The aim and objective of this study was to construct a reliable and valid questionnaire which can be used to assess severity of stress of preprimary school students.

Construction of preprimary stress questionnaire

The questions framed here were done after reviewing of different research articles and consultation with the professionals working in the field. These sources provided the blueprint for the construction of preprimary stress questionnaire (PPSQ). The questionnaire was made such that each item was matched the research objective. The language of the items was simple and understandable to express the concept the research. This process of scrutiny yielded 20 questions for the constructions of the PPSQ. This was a “teacher report” means each questionnaire was applied for one student, and it was reported by the teacher of the concerned student.

Expert evaluation of questionnaire

For the validity of questionnaire, the items were subjected for evaluation by experts. The experts were selected from the field of school education, psychology, and medical education. The items were rated from 0 to 3 for evaluation of frequency of occurrence of events, 0 = not at all, 1 = sometimes, 2 = quite often, and 3 = very often.

Questionnaire–(teacher report)

Instruction for respondent

Encircle any one number from 0 to 3 for each question to indicate the frequency of occurrence of events.

Scoring instruction

To get total stress score, sum the score of 20 items. However, prior to summation the items, some of the items 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, and 18 will need to reverse score, as these questions are indications of positive ways of handling stress. For example, if you indicated “0” on item number 9, you will actually give yourself 3 points (e.g., 0 = 3, 1 = 2, 2 = 1, and 3 = 0). Once you reverse the scores for items 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, and 18, add up the score for all 20 items to determine your total stress score. Record your score on the front page. Total score ranges from 0 to 60. Total score 0 = no stress, 1–20 = mild stress, 21–40 = moderate stress, and 41–60 = severe stress.

Preliminary survey

The items were arranged as shown in [Table 1] and administered to two teachers involved for 38 preprimary school students of 2014–2015 academic sessions to check their applicability and face validity during face-to-face session. They were encouraged to express their doubts freely. Necessary modifications were done with the experience gained through this preliminary survey.
Table 1: Number of preprimary students

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Validity analysis

Content validity was undertaken to find out whether the items of the questionnaire were appropriate and relevant to the purpose of this study. To estimate the content validity of the PPSQ, eight experts in the areas of school education, statics, medical education, and psychology were asked to review the draft 20-item PPSQ to ensure whether it was consistent with the conceptual framework. Each reviewer independently rated the relevance of each item on the PPSQ to the conceptual framework using a 4-point Likert scale (0 = not at all, 1 = sometimes, 2 = quite often, 3 = very often). The content validity index (CVI) was used to estimate the validity of the items.

Collection of data

The investigator obtained permission and clearance from different schools of locality. Mentally and physically healthy students were selected for this study. Mentally and physically ill and students of disturbed family were excluded from the study. The investigator requested 29 teachers of different schools having preprimary curriculum, and 505 questionnaires were distributed for response. The completion of the questionnaire was voluntary. Data was collected by guided self-administered questionnaire. The time taken by the students for filling in the PSSQ was around 15 min. The questionnaires were collected on the same day of administration. Honestly, all teachers responded to the work very well, and all 505 questionnaires were returned. After data collection, SPSS 16 (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences, IBM Corporation, Armonk, New York) was used for analysis of data.

Reliability analysis

Reliability analysis was done to determine the reliability of the questionnaire. Internal consistency of the items was determined by using Cronbach's alpha coefficient. For estimation of reliability, statistical reliability of individual items was done. All 20 items had a corrected-item total correlation value of more than 0.3; thus, all 20 items of questionnaire were selected. The Cronbach's alpha if item-deleted value could determine which item highly contributed to the reliability of the PSSQ. If the Cronbach's alpha value for those items-deleted decreased from alpha value of questionnaire, it would indicate that the items highly contributed to alpha value. In contrast, if the Cronbach's alpha value for those items-deleted increased, it would indicate that the items poorly contributed to alpha value.

  Results Top

This study showed the severity of stress in preprimary school students by questionnaire method though it was a teacher report. A total of 505 questionnaires were analyzed for this study, and each questionnaire belongs to one preprimary student. All students were between age group 3 and 5 years (3 years–nursery, 4 years–lower kindergarten, 5 years–upper kindergarten). Of these 505 students, 143 students (91 male, 52 female) were in nursery, 190 students (113 male, 77 female) were in lower kindergarten, and 172 students (105 male, 67 female) were in upper kindergarten class as shown in [Table 1].

[Table 2] shows that the Cronbach's alpha value of the questionnaire (0.925), which suggested that the questionnaire had the excellent internal consistency among the items of the questionnaire PPSQ.
Table 2: Cronbach's alpha (α) of questionnaire

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[Table 3] shows that the corrected item-total correlation of all the items of the questionnaire PPSQ was more than 0.3. Thus, all items were included in the questionnaire PPSQ. The Cronbach's alpha coefficient of PPSQ was 0.925, if the alpha value is decreased by deleting a particular item that means that particular item should remain in the questionnaire. In this study, the Cronbach's alpha of all items if deleted was less than the actual Cronbach's alpha coefficient (0.925). Thus, all items were included to construct a reliable questionnaire. [Table 3] also shows that the CVI of each item was 0.87 or 1 that means all items were valid to construct a valid questionnaire.
Table 3: Reliability and validity of PPSQ

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  Discussion Top

At present, parents are overconscious regarding their education of their child for which preprimary students are suffering from varied degree of stress. Reliability generally is defined as consistency or reproducibility of measurement over time or occasions, whereas validity is generally defined as to what extent the measurement measures what it should measure.[17],[18] The purpose of this present study was to determine the validity and reliability of a newly developed instrument PPSQ, which could be used in identifying severity of stress among preprimary school students. Cronbach's alpha value is commonly used by researchers in determining the internal consistency of an instrument, whereas CVI is used to determine the validity of an instrument. In this study, the same analyses were applied in order to determine the internal consistency and validity of the PPSQ.

The findings from reliability analysis suggested that the questionnaire has Cronbach's alpha coefficient (0.925) as shown in [Table 2], reflecting the reliability of the PPSQ is excellent. Different researchers have different opinions about the ideal Cronbach's alpha value. Some experts recommend the alpha should be at least 0.90 for instruments used in clinical settings.[19] Some other researchers suggest an alpha of 0.70 is acceptable for a new instrument.[20],[21] The CVI of items of this questionnaire showed 0.87 or 1, which indicated that this was a valid instrument for a psychometric analysis. Some researchers stated that CVI 0.87 or more is necessary for an item of a questionnaire to be valid, otherwise that particular item should be dropped.[21],[22]

The findings in this study were evidence to support and suggest that the PPSQ was a reliable instrument that could be used in the future to identify severity of stress among preprimary school students.

  Conclusion Top

Children are the future of the country. This study showed that PPSQ had a good psychometric value. It is a valid and reliable instrument that can be used in the future to identify the severity of stress among preprimary school students so that different behavioral problems of children that usually develop in childhood can be prevented.


It is our immense pleasure to acknowledge the subjects and teachers of different local English medium schools involved in this study. Because of their consent, we, the authors, were successful to complete this study.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

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  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3]


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