Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Psychology



First Advisor

Joseph S. Rossi


The negative physical and psychological health consequences of stress are a significant and prevalent concern for our society. This study proposes using the Transtheoretical Model to increase stress management behaviors among adolescents. As a first step in doing so, measures of decisional balance and self-efficacy were developed on a pilot sample of 317 ninth and tenth graders from a public, New England high school. Using a split-half cross-validation procedure, exploratory and confirmatory analyses produced two, internally consistent instruments. The resulting decisional balance measure includes 4 items to measure the pros of practicing stress management and 4 items to measure the cons of the behavior. The self-efficacy measure developed consists of 9 items encompassing a single general factor of confidence. This decisional balance measure offers validation for the Transtheoretical Model. The pros increased significantly across stages of change, while the cons decreased significantly. However, this confidence measure does not imitate past findings. These confidence items remain stable across stage of change. Further studies are needed to determine if this effect is due to the sample or this behavioral area among adolescents. Consistent with the literature, gender comparisons revealed that girls acknowledge more benefits of stress management, whereas boys reflect more confidence to practice stress management. These measures will allow for the study of stress management behavior change among adolescents with sound and reliable instruments.



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