PSI-4 Parenting Stress Index, Fourth Edition

By Richard R. Abidin, EdD


Purpose: Identify parent-child problem areas
Age: 0 to 12 years
Admin: Individual; self-report
Time: 20 minutes scoring time 5 minutes

Qualification Level: B (Specialist Teacher)

Designed to evaluate the magnitude of stress in the parent-child system, the fourth edition of the popular PSI is a 120-item inventory that focuses on three major domains of stressor source: child characteristics, parent characteristics, and 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, pediatric practices, and treatment outcome monitoring.

Features and benefits

  • Revised to improve the psychometric limitations of individual items 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 organized by each year of child age. Percentiles—the primary interpretive framework for the PSI-4—and Tscores are provided.
  • One validity scale—Defensive Responding—indicates whether the parent is responding in a defensive manner.

Test structure

Two domains, the Child Domain and Parent Domain, 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.

Technical information

  • All-new normative data were collected from a sample of 534 mothers and 522 fathers stratified to match the demographic composition of the latest Census.   
  • Coefficient alpha reliability coefficients based on the responses of individuals in the normative sample ranged from .78 to .88 for Child Domain subscales and from .75 to .87 for Parent Domain subscales. Reliability coefficients for the two domains and the Total Stress scale were .96 or greater, indicating a high degree of internal consistency for these measures.
  • Test-retest reliability coefficients, obtained through several studies, ranged from .55 to .82 for the Child Domain, from .69 to .91 for the Parent Domain, and from .65 to .96 for the Total Stress score.
  • Validity has been investigated in studies that focused on at-risk children, attachment, ADHD, child abuse, forensic contexts, medical treatment adherence, substance abuse, parental depression, and more.

Now Available! The Parenting Stress Index, Fourth Edition Short Form (PSI-4-SF) is now available.


PSI-4 Introductory Kit

PSI-4 Introductory Kit

PSI-4 Introductory Kit includes PSI-4 Professional Manual, 10 Item Booklets, 25 Answer Sheets, and 25 Profile Forms Qualification Level:  ...


PSI-4 Professional Manual

PSI-4 Professional Manual

PSI-4 Professional Manual. Qualification Level:  B 


PSI-4 Item Booklets

PSI-4 Item Booklets

PSI-4 Item Booklets (pkg/10) Qualification Level:  B 
PSI-4 Answer Sheets

PSI-4 Answer Sheets

PSI-4 Answer Sheets (pkg/25) Qualification Level:  B 
PSI-4 Profile Forms

PSI-4 Profile Forms

PSI-4 Profile Forms (pad/25) Qualification Level:  B