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Development of a tool to assess cognitive mastery of stress in children: A pilot study

Linda Ann Lewandowski, University of Massachusetts Amherst


The process of mastery of major stressors in children has been much less studied than similar processes in adults. The purpose of this pilot study was to develop and to conduct beginning testing of a new psychological measure to assess the construct of cognitive mastery of stressful events in children, i.e., the Child Cognitive Mastery Scale (CCMS). First, 22 situations involving forced-choice responses were developed around three previously-identified domains: safety and security, just and controllable world, and self-view and pictures portraying these situations were drawn. Then, 56 children, ages 6 to 11 were tested with the CCMS and a depression measure. Twenty-one children were re-tested 7 to 10 days later with the CCMS. Teachers provided ratings of school achievement and parents provided information regarding stressful life events and the child's overall behavior. Results showed evidence of overall test-retest reliability and beginning evidence of inter-administrator reliability. The results also identified some initial "hints" at discriminative and construct validity and seemed, for the most part, to confirm the projective assumption that the childrens' responses would reflect their own views of the world and of themselves. This initial pilot study provided some encouraging information regarding the psychometric properties of the CCMS as well as information regarding needed revisions and some directions for further evaluation and development.

Subject Area

Psychotherapy|Nursing|Mental health

Recommended Citation

Lewandowski, Linda Ann, "Development of a tool to assess cognitive mastery of stress in children: A pilot study" (1988). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI8823726.