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Journal of Clinical Child Psychology

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The Spanish Version Parenting Stress Index: A

Psychometric Study
Magaly Lucia Solis & Richard R. Abidin
Published online: 07 Jun 2010.

To cite this article: Magaly Lucia Solis & Richard R. Abidin (1991) The Spanish Version Parenting Stress Index: A Psychometric
Study, Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 20:4, 372-378, DOI: 10.1207/s15374424jccp2004_5

To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1207/s15374424jccp2004_5


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Journal of Clinical Child Psychology Copyright 1991 by
1991, Vol. 20, No. 4, 372-378 Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.

The Spanish Version Parenting Stress Index: A Psychometric Study

Magaly Lucia Solis

New York University-Bellevue Medical Center
Richard R. Abidin
University of Virginia

Evaluated the psychometric properties of the Spanish version of the Parenting Stress
Index (PSI), based on the responses of 223 Hispanic mothers. Alpha coeficients
were comparable to those for the original PSI. A factor analysis of the 13 PSI
subscales indicated that three factors rather than the original two-factor solution
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more meaningfully described the Hispanic data. This study is consistent with recent
research with Anglo-American mothers suggesting that the dimensions of the PSI
are better described by threefactors: Child Characteristics, Parent Characteristics,
and Child-Parent Interaction. Multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) indi-
cated that in a Hispanic sample, mothers of handicapped children reported more
parenting stress than mothers of nonhandicapped children. This study supports the
cross-cultural utility of the PSI.

Given the increase and the inevitable growth of Stratton, 1988; Webster-Stratton & Hammond,
the Hispanic population in the United States (U. S. 1988). This diagnostic tool, translated into Spanish,
Bureau of the Census, 1985), there is an increasing may be useful for both clinical and research pur-
demand for effective mental health care and treat- poses in assessing parenting stress with Hispanic
ment to serve this group (Rogler et al., 1983). For families.
many Hispanics, Spanish may be their primary lan- The PSI consists of 120 items, 54 of which make
guage or their preferred language (Padilla & Lind- up the Parent Domain, 47 the Child Domain, and 19
holm, 1983); thus, clinicians need to rely on Spanish the Life Stress Scale. Together, these three domains
language instruments to evaluate and diagnose His- assess the various sources of stress that may result
panic clients appropriately. Likewise, researchers in deviant parenting styles and child behavior prob-
need to be sensitive to the language used in research lems. The PSI manual (Abidin, 1990a) provides data
questionnaires to ensure appropriate responsiveness on reliability and validity of the instrument. The
of Hispanics to research studies (Marin & Marin, discriminant validity of the PSI has been supported
1982). by several studies (see Abidin, 1990a). Being able to
Presently, there are no Spanish language psycho- differentiate between groups on the basis of PSI
logical instruments designed to assess levels of par- scores has supported the clinical utility of the instru-
enting stress. Furthermore, there is a dearth of re- ment. More recently, the PSI has been applied to
search examining the characteristics of Hispanic culturally different groups (Arena, 1989; Bendell,
children and parents that result in dysfunctional Stone, Field, & Goldstein, 1989; Cameron & Orr,
parenting. The Parenting Stress Index (PSI; Abidin, 1989; Hauenstein, Scarr, & Abidin, 1987; Seagull et
1983)has been useful with Anglo-Americansamples al., 1986). These studies have examined the psycho-
in medical settings such as pediatric practices and metric properties of the PSI and provide further
well-child clinics as a screening and diagnostic tool evidence of the cross-cultural utility of the instru-
to measure the magnitude of stress in the parent- ment.
child system (McKinney & Peterson, 1984) and in It is clear that translation of an instrument does
psychological research (Abidin, 1982; Breen & not automatically mean that it can be applied to
Barkley, 1988; Goldberg, Morris, Simmons, Fowler, another cultural group (Brislin, Lonner, & Thorn-
& Levison, 1990; Kazak & Marvin, 1984; Lafiosca dike, 1973; Gordon & Kikuchi, 1966; Hui & Trian-
& Loyd, 1986; Mash & Johnston, 1983a, 1983b, dis, 1985; Marin & Marin, 1982). As Brislin et al.
1983c; Mash, Johnston, & Kovitz, 1983; Webster- (1973) stated, "a previously translated test by no
means constitutes a license to apply it without first
Requests for reprints should be sent to Magaly L. Solis, 377 carefully considering its validity and reliability for
Vanderbilt Parkway, Dix Hills, NY 11746-5820. its current cross-cultural use" (p. 115). Psychomet-

ric properties of translated versions need to be evalu- The children who weire the focus of the mothers'
ated in order to make valid test interpretations and responses to the PSI consisted of 112 boys and 111
cross-cultural comparisons. girls, with a mean age of 5 Y .6 months (SAD = 39.6
Factor analysis can be used to help determine months). Forty-one percent of the children ranged
whether the construct being measured by a given from 1 month to 3 years, 37% from 3.08 to 6 years,
instrument is the same between cultures (Hui & Tri- 15% from 6.08 to 10 yearrs, and 7% from 10.8 to 19
andis, 1985). Comparable factor structures between years. The age distributi~onof this sample is compa-
cultures will allow for valid interpretation of the rable to the initial Anglo-American norm sample
factor scores. Once a translated form of a measure reported by Abidin (1983).
is available, its psychometric characteristics-such
as its reliability and validity-must be ascertained. Instrument
The purpose of this research was to examine the
psychometric characteristics (e.g., reliabillity, facto- Spanish translation of the PSI. The PSI was
rial validity, discriminant validity) of a Spanish initially translated to Spanish by a bilingual re-
translation of the PSI and to assess its comparability searcher (Solis, 1990). Three additional graduate
to the English-version PSI. students were then asked to translate the instru-
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ment. The researcher antl each independent transla-

Method tor revised the translated items with the purpose of
obtaining simple and concise sentence ritructures
Subjects and utilizing words that were common to the differ-
ent dialects of Spanish. That is, because the transla-
The sample consisted of 223 Hispanic mothers, tors were of different Hispanic origin, itenn transla-
200 of whom were recruited from th~epediatrics de- tions needed to be acceptable to all. This translation
partment of Bellevue Hospital Center, a large New technique is similar to the committee approach de-
York City hospital, and 23 of whom were recruited scribed by Brislin et al. (1973). A back translation
elsewhere at Bellevue Hospital or through referrals (Brislin, 1970) was then performed by a fo~uthgrad-
in the New York City area. Subjects were individu- uate student. Abidin (the developer of the PSI) and
als who identified themselves as being of Spanish or Solis then reviewed the English back translation and
Hispanic origin and who could read and compre- made adjustments to ensure that the translated
hend Spanish. They had to have at least one child items maintained the original intended meaning.
less than 19 years of age who was the focus of their As a final empirical check on the equivalence of
responses to the PSI. the original and the Spanish version, 10 bilingual
subjects were asked to complete the PSI[ in both
Demographics of the sample. Mothers who Spanish and English. Results of the matched t test
were born in the U. S. comprised 20.6% of the sam- and the Pearson product-moment correlation (Total
ple (second generation), whereas mothers who were Score r = .99) indicated that the Spanislh version
born in the Caribbean Islands, Central and South PSI is a very good reflectio~nof the English version
America, and Mexico (first generati~on)composed and demonstrated item equivalence (Solis, 1990).
78.3%. The respondents had been living in the U.S.
an average of 16 years (SD = 10 years). Of the Procedure
mothers, 16.6%, and of the fathers, 75.8%, were
employed full-time. Fifty-three percent of the fa- Mothers were approached by a Hispanic exam-
thers and 53.4% of the mothers had an educational iner who spoke fluent Spanilsh. They were asked to
level up to or including secondary school. The age be a volunteer in a study that involved responding
range of the mothers and of the fathers, respectively, to the PSI and a demographic and sociocultural
was 17 to 62 years witlh a mean of 30.8, and 20 to questionnaire. Mothers were informed that these
60 years with a mean of 34.5. Spanish was the princi- measures consisted of questions regardilg them-
pal language spoken in the home of 60.5% of the selves and their child and that their responfses to the
respondents. questionnaire would be kept confidential. If the par-
The parents' social class statys was determined ent agreed to participate in the study, a consent form
using Hollingshead's Four Factor Index (Hollings- was read and signed by the parent and examiner.
head, 1975). The sample distributed itself across the They were given the option of completing ithe ques-
five levels of social strata as follows: Level T = 5.4% tionnaire either on their own or with the examiner.
(highest), Level I1 = 12.2%, Level I11 = 23.4%, Ninety-six percent of the sample completed the
Level IV = 24.6%, Level V = 32..4% (lowest). questionnaire with the examiner. This was, done to
Thus, 82.4% of the sample ranged within the lower keep them motivated antl to ensure that the ques-
SES level. tionnaire was completed. Thus, most of the mothers

were administered the PSI by a qualified examiner the Hispanic sample responded to the PSI in a con-
rather than having it self-administered. sistent manner comparable to that of the original
normative sample.
Factorial Validity
The subjects' scores on the 13 subscales formed
the data for the factor analysis. Analysis of the 13
The internal consistency of the Spanish version
subscales was chosen for two reasons: (a) in order
PSI was calculated to determine whether the reli-
for this present study to be comparable to the origi-
ability of the PSI was maintained with a Hispanic
nal PSI research (Abidin, 1990a), and (b) because
sample. The reliabilities were computed for the
research on the clinical and research utility of the
Total Stress Score, Child Domain, Parent Domain,
PSI has involved interpretation of scores obtained
and subscales, employing Cronbach's (195 1) alpha.
on the 13 subscales.
The results are presented in Table 1 along with reli-
Thus, the Hispanic data was subjected to the
ability coefficients of the original PSI data.
same factor analytic procedure used with the origi-
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The coefficients for Total Stress, Child Domain,

nal PSI (Loyd & Abidin, 1985), namely the 13 sub-
and Parent Domain for the Hispanic sample were
scales were subjected to a principal components
.94, 38, and .92, respectively, and for the Anglo-
analysis with a two-factor solution. An orthogonal
American sample .95, 39, and .93, respectively.
(varimax) rotation was performed with two factors
These coefficients were large enough to indicate a
to describe the variables. The two-factor solution
high degree of internal consistency. The coefficients
accounted for 55% of the variance. The factor solu-
for the subscales were adequate except for the sub-
tion and the factor loadings for the 13 subscales for
scales Demandingness and Attachment, which were
the Hispanic data and the original PSI data appear
slightly below the criterion of .60. in Table 2. Factor 1 consisted of five parent sub-
The differences between the reliability coefficients
scales-Depression, Restriction of Role, Social Iso-
of the Hispanic sample and the original Anglo-
lation, Relationship with Spouse, and Parent
American sample were negligible. In fact, the values Health-and two child subscales-Adaptability and
obtained were nearly identical. The data suggest that Demandingness. Factor 2 consisted of four child
s u b s c a l e ~ ~ c c e ~ t a b i l Mood,
it~, Distractibility,
Table 1. Comparison of Internal Consistency of the and Reinforces Parent-and two parent subsoales-
PSI between 223 Hispanics and 534 Anglo Attachment and Sense of Competence. Clowr in-
Americans spection of factor loadings of the data indicated that
some subscales were loading on both factors. En the
Parent Domain subscales, Adaptability, Demand-
Alpha Reliabilities ingness, and Deptessio* also loaded on the Child
PSI Scale Hispanic Anglo American Domain, and in the Child Domain the subscale
Sense of Competence also loaded on the Parent Do-
Child Subscales main. Another important con8ideration of the Eaotor
Adaptability .65 .66 loadings was that the Attachment subscale clearly
Acceptability .74 .63
Demandingness .58 .62
loaded on the Child Domain. In the origiad PSI
Mood .63 .66 study this was dso the caw; however, fdr theardti~al
Distractibility/Hyperactivity .65 .62 reasons, the Attachment sabscale was dafiwd as a
Reinforces Parent .76 .70 parent subscale.
Child domain score .88 .89 Given that in the two-factor solution four sub-
Parent Subscales
Depression .75 .80
scales were not clearly differentiated, and that the
Attachment .58 .55 Attachment subscale may be presented as a separate
Restriction of Role .74 .79 factor charactesized as an interaction between the
Sense of Competence .73 .74 parent and child, it was hypothesized that the data
Social Isolation .74 .73 could be more meaningfully and parsimoniously de-
Relationship with Spouse .76 .70
fined by a threefactor solution.
Parent Health .71 .66
Parent domain score .92 .93 The Hispatlic data were submitted to a principal
Total stress score .94 .95 components analysis of the 13 subscales without re-
striction on the number of factors. This procedure
Note: The data in Table 1 are from Parenting Stress Index-
Manual (3rd ed., p. 12) by R. R. Abidin, 1990, Charlottesville,
resulted in three factors with eigenvalues greater
VA: Pediatric Psychology Press. Copyright 1990 by Pediatric than 1. According to the Kaiser criterion (Kaiser,
Psychology Press. Adapted by permission. 1960), only those factors that account for at least as

Table 2. Varimax Factor Loadings of Subscalesfor Hispanic Sample and Origi-

nal PSI Norms: A Two-Factor Solution

Factor Loadings

Hispanic SampIea Original ~r'srmd'

I I1 I 11
Subscales Parent Child Parent Child

Child Domain
Reinforces Parent
Parent Domain
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Restriction of Role
Sense of Competence
Social Isolation
Relationship with Spouse
Parent Health
Note: Loadings less than .30 are in parentheses. The data in Table 2 are from Parenting Stress
Index-Manual (3rd ed., p. 53) by R R. Abidin, 1990, Charlottesville, VA: Pediatric Psychology
Press. Copyright 1990 by Pediatric Psychology Press. Adapted by permission.
"N = 223. bN = 534.

much variance as one variable (eigenvalue greater the characteristics of the individual child or parent
than 1) are meaningful. Three factors that meet this that contribute to parenting stress.
criterion emerged from the Hispanic data. Retention
of a three-factor soluti~onwas further suggested by Discriminant Criterion Validity
the scree test (Cattell, 1966). The three-factor solu-
tion accounted for 64% of the variance, 9% higher To examine the discriminant criterion validity of
than that accounted by the two-factor solution. The the PSI with an Hispanic sample, 23 childr~enidenti-
thee-factor solution and the factor loadings for the fied by their mothers as having a physical or mental
13 subscales are presented in Table 3. Factor 1 and handicap were compared with 200 children who did
Factor 3 were composed of parent characteristics not have such a handicap. In other studies (Cam-
subscales and child cha~racteristics subscales, respec- eron & Orr, 1989; Zirnmerman, 1979) that have
tively. These two factors were similar to the two- compared handicapped children versus nonhand-
factor solution identified in the original study. That icapped children, parents olf handicapped children
is, Factor 1 was composed of the subscales Depres- reported more stress within the parent-child system.
sion, Restriction of Role, Social Isolation, Relation- A MANOVA, using the Raw Score totals from the
ship with Spouse, and Parental Health from the Child Domain, Parent Domain, and the Life Stress
original Parent Domain factor of the PSI. Factor 3 (optional PSI scale), indicated that parents of handi-
was composed of the subscales Adaptability, De- capped children perceived more stress than parents
mandingness, Mood, and Distractibility/Hyperac- of nonhandicapped children, Wilks's lambda = .8 1,
tivity from the original Child Domain factor. Factor F(3, 219) = 16.65, p < .05. A MAN0V.A on the
2 consisted of four subscales: Reinforces Parent, At- child and parent subscales further demonstirated sig-
tachment, Acceptability, and Sense of Competence. nificant differences between the two groulps in the
This factor was identified as the Parent-Child Inter- expected direction, Wilks's lambda = .7 1,
action factor because these subscales were interpre- F(13,209) = 6.57, p < .05. Univariate F tests indi-
table as being directly related to the interactions cated significant differences on all subscales except
between parent and child that are likely to contrib- for parent's Sense of Competence and Attachment
ute to dysfunctional parenting; that is, the subscales (see Table 4). The data suggested that Hispanic
that compose this factor reflect interactions that mothers with handicapped children feel a!; compe-
take place between the parent and child rather than tent and knowledgeable of their child's development

Table 3. Varimax Factor Loadings for PSI Subscales With Hispanics: A Three-
Factor Solution

Factor Loadings

I I1 I11
PSI Parent Parent-Child Interaction Child

Child Domain
Adaptability .33 (.15) .7 1
Acceptability (.28) .56 .45
Demandingness .34 (.16) .54
Mood (.21) .39 .57
Distractibility/Hyperactivity (.14) .21 .50
Reinforces Parent (.09) .73 .21
Parent Domain
Depression .49 .43 (.27)
Attachment (.23) .69 (.I61
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Restriction of Role .68 (.I91 (.29)

Sense of Competence .42 .55 (.23)
Social Isolation .7 1 (.20) (.23)
Relationship with Spouse .64 (.23) (. 18)
Parent Health .69 (.I31 (.24)
Note: Loadings less than .30 are in parentheses.

Table 4. Comparison of200 Nonhandicapped Children and 23 Handicapped Children on

the Spanish PSI

Nonhandicapped Handicapped

PSI Scale M SD

Child Subscales
Adaptability 28.8 5.1
Acceptability 15.1 3.9
Demandingness 22.1 3.8
Mood 11.4 3.0
Distractibility/Hyperactivity 25.0 5.0
Reinforces Parent 10.6 2.9
Child domain score 112.9 16.4
Parent Subscales
Restriction of Role
Sense of Competence
Social Isolation
Relationship with Spouse
Parent Health
Parent domain score
Life stress score

and feel as much attachment towards their child as children was lower in areas of parental attachment
Hispanic mothers of children with normal develop- and their feelings of competence, relative to all other
ment. However, these mothers of handicapped chil- subscales.
dren reported more stress in all other areas. The No significant differences were found in Total
pattern of results of this study were similar to those Stress and Domain Scores in the Hispanic sample
of Zimmerman (1979), who found that the level of for the demographic variables of child's gender and
stress for Anglo-American parents of handicapped the families' SES as measured by the Hollingshead

Four Factor Index. These findings are comparable Clinicians and researchers working with urban
to those reported for an Anglo-American sample by Hispanics similar to the sample of this study may
Cameron and Orr (1989). find it useful to score the Spanish version PSI based
on a three-factor solution. The results of this study
Discussion help establish the reliability and discriminant crite-
rion validity of the Spanish version PSI. Norms
Data on the internal consistency of the Spanish- based on the three-factor solution have also been
version PSI indicates that alpha coe:fficients are ac- established (Solis, 1990). Although the results of this
ceptable and comparable to the original PSI data. first study on the Spanish version PSI are very en-
Discriminant criterion validity of the PSI with a couraging, replication of its: psychometric properties
Hispanic sample also was supported. The Spanish is essential. before strong conclusions can be made
version of the PSI was able to discriminate between about the instrument's utility with Hispanics. The
groups of parents of handicapped versus nonhand- relatively small sample size and the fact that the
icapped children in terms of the stress parents re- mothers who participated in this study were lower
ported. There appeared to be maximal differentia- SES, less acculturated, immigrant Hispanics may
tion between the two groups on the subscales limit the generalizability of the results. While the
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Acceptability, Demandingness, and Relationship applicability of the PSI to other regional :subgroups
with Spouse. The additional stress the current sam- of Hispanics is unknown, this study fits tlhe pattern
ple of Hispanic parents of handicapped children per- of other cross-cultural rlesearch, which supports the
ceived may be due to the social isolation they experi- PSI'S cross-cultural validity (Goldberg et al., 1990;
ence, which could be attributed to being a parent of Hauenstein et al., 1987; Miller, 1986; Perez, 1989;
a handicapped child. Seagull et al., 1986). Further research on the Span-
Factor analysis af tlhe 13 subscales of the Spanish ish version PSI will nal doulbt assess the utiility of the
version indicated that in general, a two-factor solu- instrument with other Hispanic groups.
tion confirmed most of the scales of the original PSI,
and it accounted for a similar proportion of the
variance as in the original study. However, there References
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