Factors in the Perceived Stress Scale Differentially Associate with Mindfulness Disposition and Executive Function among Early Adolescents

Afton Kechter*, David S. Black, Nathaniel R. Riggs, Christopher M. Warren, Anamara Ritt-Olson, Chih Ping Chou, Mary Ann Pentz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objectives: The first aim was to test the factor structure and item-loadings of the 10-item Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) when administered to early adolescents. The second aim was to examine associations between PSS factors, mindfulness disposition, and executive function. Methods: We analyzed data collected from 331 students in grade seven (M age = 12.4, 48.9% female, 47.1% White, 26.0% Hispanic, 37.8% received free-lunch) classrooms from two ethnically/racially and socio-economically diverse schools. Participants completed paper and pencil self-report measures of stress (PSS), mindfulness disposition (Mindful Awareness Attention Scale, MAAS), and executive function (Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function, BRIEF). We tested the statistical association between two factors of the PSS: perceived coping and perceived distress with MAAS and BRIEF. Results: A two-factor model of the PSS, inclusive of perceived coping and perceived distress, fit the data better than a one-dimensional model. MAAS and BRIEF scores were inversely associated with PSS distress scores (β = −0.62, p < 0.0001 and β = −0.66, p< 0.0001, respectively), but not PSS coping scores (β = −0.04, p = 0.21 and β = −0.02, p = 0.57, respectively) in a model adjusted for sex, race, and socio-economic status. Conclusions: Two factors in the PSS emerged among early adolescents and differentially associated with mindfulness disposition and executive function to similar magnitudes. Findings encourage future assessment of perceived stress in a more refined manner across developmental stages in order to examine trajectories of perceived distress versus perceived coping in relation to mindfulness disposition and executive function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)814-821
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Child and Family Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 15 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescent
  • Coping
  • Distress
  • Executive function
  • Mindfulness disposition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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