A new measure of contemporary life stress: Development, validation, and reliability of the CRISYS

Madeleine U. Shalowitz, Carolyn A. Berry, Kenneth A. Rasinski, Christine A. Dannhausen-Brun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective. To develop and validate a measure of contemporary life stressors. Study Setting: Three interview studies: Study 1 (pilot), 32 caregivers receiving case management services for a child with chronic illness; Study 2 (validation), 311 caregivers of children receiving general pediatric care at a university clinic; Study 3 (reliability), 17 caregivers of children with a complex medical diagnosis. Study Design: Study 1: item development via discussions with case managers; piloted with caregivers. Study 2 examined psychometric properties of the measure and correlated it with the CES-D, a measure of depressive symptomatology and the PRO5-Part 2, a measure of perceived social support, to established its convergent construct validity. Study 3 established the test-retest reliability of the measure over two weeks by correlating two administration of the index. Data Collection. Face-to-face interviews in homes (Study 1) or in clinic waiting rooms (Studies 2 and 3) and by telephone (Study 3 retest). Principal Findings. The CRISYS is a flexible, multidimensional tool that demonstrates strong face, content, and construct validity, and excellent test-retest reliability. The format is easy to use and well accepted by respondents and is suitable for low-income populations. Conclusions: Researchers will find the CRISYS useful when evaluating the success of clinical model or a healthcare system, and the effectiveness of an insurance plan or a government program. Clinicians may also find that the CRISYS is an effective screen for family needs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1381-1402
Number of pages22
JournalHealth Services Research
Issue number5 I
StatePublished - Dec 1998


  • Health outcomes
  • Instrument development
  • Life events
  • Stress
  • Test validation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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