Novel Measures of Psychosocial Stress: Validation in an Ongoing Cohort Study There is increasing evidence that psychosocial stress may enhance the risk for a number of important chronic conditions, and that stress may moderate the effects of genetic factors on health and behavioral outcomes as well. In order to make further advances in this area, we must develop better standardized, psychometrically sound instruments for quantifying exposures to psychosocial stress. Over the past four years, our Pittsburgh- based team has been working to develop new tools for the assessment of psychosocial stress, under the auspices of a cooperative agreement sponsored by the Exposure Biology program (U01DA023821, Psychosocial stress exposure: Real-time and structured interview technologies). We have made a great deal of progress, and we now have in hand two new prototype technologies, one for the self-report assessment of daily psychosocial stress (SMART, or self-report mobile activity recording tool), and the other, an interviewer- assisted assessment tool for the measurement of chronic and acute environmental stressors (LEAP, or Life Events Assessment Profile). The goal of the proposed study will be to validate these two prototype devices in the context of an ongoing epidemiological study at an offsite location. This research will permit us to establish the validity of the SMART and the LEAP as measures of psychosocial stress and health risk, and will provide us with important background and experience field testing these devices, so that we may ultimately use these measures as part of multi-site epidemiological studies.
This study, Novel Measures of Psychosocial Stress: Validation in an Ongoing Cohort Study, involves the development of new assessment tools for research and practice. Developing better measures of psychosocial stress is the first step toward helping us understand the role that stress may play in the development and course of chronic diseases, and, ultimately, in helping us to ameliorate its negative effects.
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