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DOI: 10.1016/j.rcp.2021.02.002
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Disponible online el 25 de Marzo de 2021
Review of the COVID-19 Pandemic-related Perceived Stress Scale (PSS–10–C)
Revisión de la Escala de Estrés Percibido (EEP-10-C) relacionado con la pandemia de COVID-19
Adalberto Campo-Ariasa,
Autor para correspondencia

Corresponding author.
, John Carlos Pedrozo-Pupoa, Edwin Herazob
a Programa de Medicina, Facultad de Ciencias de la Salud, Universidad del Magdalena, Santa Marta, Colombia
b Instituto de Investigación del Comportamiento Humano, Bogotá, Colombia
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To the Editor,

The COVID-19 Pandemic-Related Stress Scale (PSS-10-C) was presented amidst the worldwide coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.1 The PSS-10-C is an adaptation of the famous Scale of Perceived Stress (PSS-10).2 The instrument's relevance is evidenced by several citations of using the PSS-C-10 in the world context.3–5 The PSS-10-C presented a one-dimensional structure, without a confirmatory analysis factorial, and high internal consistency; however, the need to make adjustments in PSS-10-C was noted.1

Since perspective focused on the writing of the items, a review of the PSS-10-C suggested that the Spanish item 6 (’I have felt unable to face the things I have to do to control the possible infection’) could partly explain that the factorial solution was not wholly satisfactory in explaining less than 50% of the variance.6 Furthermore, item 6 was scored directly and was preceded and followed by two items scored inversely.1 Often, these details can have a significant impact on the performance of the measurement scales.7

A sample of 1136 students from all majors of a Colombian university participated. Participants include ages between 18 and 29 years (mean, 22±3], currently called emerging adults.8 66% of the sample was female, and 79% of residents in low-income areas were included. Students completed online an adjusted version of the PSS-10-C that only has a modification (in italics) in Spanish item 6 to which the wording was adjusted (’I have felt able to face the things that I have to do to control a possible infection’), and the meaning of the qualification was changed from direct to reverse. Items 1, 2, 3, 9, and 10 were scored directly from 0 to 4, and items 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 were reversed from 4 to 0.1 Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and confirmatory (EFA) were performed (CFA). Besides, Cronbach's alpha was calculated as an indicator of internal consistency.9 The analysis was performed using IBM-SPSS version 23.10 This study was approved by an institutional research ethics committee (Act 002 of an ordinary meeting, March 26th, 2020).

In the EFA, the coefficient was KMO=.86, and Bartlett's test showed χ2=3.985.3, df=54 and P<.001. Two factors were retained, factor 1 (’distress’) (items 1, 2, 3, 9, and 10), which showed an Eigenvalue of 4.24 that explained 42.4% of the variance and factor 2 (’coping’) (items 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8) that presented Eigenvalue of 1.42 responsible for 14.2% of the variance. The correlation between the factors was .55. The CFA showed the goodness-of-fit indexes the two-dimensional model of the PSS-10-C (χ2=295.6; df=34; P<.001; χ2/df=8.7; RMSEA=.08; 90%CI, 0.07-0.09; CFI=.93; TLI=.91; SRMR=.05). The global PSS-10-C showed Cronbach's α=.85, factor 1=.83, and factor 2=.77.

A slight modification in the writing and way of rating an item can produce a significant change in an instrument's psychometric performance, such as disqualifying adjectives, negative sentences, or other strategies that can change the rating sense of items.7 The two-dimensional solution for the PSS-10-C is not novel; it has been previously reported for the PSS-10.11–13 The 2 factors retained more than 50% of the variance, as is usually recommended,6 and indicators of goodness-of-fit are good.14,15 Also, this version of the PSS-C-10, with the adjustment of item 6, showed high internal consistency (.85), as the previous version (.86).1

In conclusion, the PSS-10-C is a valid and reliable tool among emerging adult students from a Colombian university. These indicators need to be corroborated in future research.


The Universidad del Magdalena supported Adalberto Campo-Arias and John Carlos Pedrozo-Pupo, and the Instituto de Investigación del Comportamiento Humanao supported Edwin Herazo.

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