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Measurement in Physical Education and Exercise Science, 16: 254–267, 2012 Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC ISSN: 1091-367X print / 1532-7841 online DOI: 10.1080/1091367X.2012.693371

Assessing College Student-Athletes’ Life Stress: Initial Measurement Development and Validation Frank Jing-Horng Lu and Ya-Wen Hsu
Graduate Institute of Physical Education, National Taiwan Sport University, Taiwan

Yuan-Shuo Chan, Jang-Rong Cheen, and Kuei-Tsu Kao
Department of Adapted Physical Education, National Taiwan Sport University, Taiwan

College student-athletes have unique life stress that warrants close attention. The purpose of this study was to develop a reliable and valid measurement assessing college student-athletes’ life stress. In Study 1, a focus group discussion and Delphi method produced a questionnaire draft, termed the College Student-Athletes’ Life Stress Scale. In Study 2 and Study 3, the properties of the items and the underlying structure of the College Student-Athletes’ Life Stress Scale were confirmed through item analysis, factor analysis, and reliability examination. A 24-item College Student-Athletes’ Life Stress Scale with eight factors was established. In addition, examining concurrent and discriminant validity via correlations among College Student-Athletes’ Life Stress Scale, positive state of mind, and burnout experiences provided further evidences of criterion validity. Across these phases, results showed adequate factorial structure, criterion validity, and reliability of the College Student-Athletes’ Life Stress Scale. The investigators suggest that College Student-Athletes’ Life Stress Scale could be used as a tool for researchers and practitioners to assess college student-athletes’ life stress. Key words: Delphi method, concurrent and discriminant validity, athletes’ positive state of mind, burnout

INTRODUCTION College student-athletes are a unique group on campus who may face a variety of stressors and challenges compared to their non-athlete counterparts because of their social environments (Etzel, 2009; Yusko, Buckman, White, & Pandina, 2008). College student-athletes are developing young adults, and like their non-athlete peers, they must try to find ways to deal with a variety of academic events and challenges in daily life. However, in athletic settings, they face harsh and weighty demands, such as repetitive and exhausting training, frequent travels and competitions, injuries, pressures to win and avoid losses, internal competitions between teammates, media pressures, and sometimes burnout (Etzel, 2009; Johnson & Ivarsson, 2011; Steffen, Pensgaard, & Bahr, 2009). These added burdens of sports participation make college student-athletes’ life stress an extremely important issue (Loughran & Etzel, 2008). Moreover, stress can be either Correspondence should be sent to Ya-Wen Hsu, Graduate Institute of Physical Education, National Taiwan Sport University, # 250, Wen-Hua First Rd., Kweishan, Taoyuan, Taiwan. E-mail: tgieva@gmail.com

COLLEGE STUDENT-ATHLETES’ LIFE STRESS SCALE

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“eustress” or “distress” (Selye, 1974), and when it becomes damaging or unpleasant stress (i.e., distress), it could endanger not only their sports performance but also their physical and mental health (Kleinert, 2007; Yusko et al., 2008). In such cases, understanding and identifying distress that student-athletes encounter in their daily life would be an essential starting point to provide them with proper support. In terms of stressors in daily life, researchers assess life stress using various well-developed measurements. For example, the Social Readjustment Rating Scale (SRRS: Holmes & Rahe, 1967) is a measurement that lists 43 life events to evaluate one’s total values of experienced life stressors. The Life Experiences Survey (LES: Sarason, Johnson, & Siegel, 1978) has been used frequently to measure life stressors. However, some items of these measures may be improper and irrelevant to...
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