Development of a Reserve-Specific Stress Inventory

Development of a Reserve-Specific Stress Inventory


Name: Jacqueline Agnew


Organization: The Johns Hopkins University

Performance Site: Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, Baltimore, MD

Year Published: 1998

Abstract Status: Final


The operational readiness of the U.S. military depends on high levels of health and mission-oriented training of all members, including those of the reserve components. In the Army Reserves, nurses have a major role in maintaining and restoring the health of service members and thus have many opportunities to impact on readiness. Protecting the health of the selected reserve population, however, may be complex because of the multiple roles of these service members as they perform their civilian and military jobs as well as meet family obligations. Reservists experience unique combinations of stressors and resources from their multiple occupational settings.

This study built on previous work to develop a reserve-specific stress inventory which is psychometrically sound and can be used in models such as those employed in occupational stress studies. The conceptual framework of such studies commonly incorporates domains such as job demands and degree of control associated with a job, as well as job-related social support and resources. These domains, therefore, were represented by separate subscales in the Reserve-Specific Stress Inventory (RSSI) that was developed. In addition, early data from reservists indicated that various aspects of fatigue were noted to be attributed to their reserve work experience. A new scale to measure reserve-specific fatigue was therefore also developed.

Analyses of several measures of internal reliability demonstrated impressive performance of all new scales of the RSSI and the Fatigue scale. For example, for each of the final scales, alpha coefficients ranged from .81 to .92. Three of the scales demonstrated differences between groups, as evidence of their validity. Officers scored higher on the measure of Job Demands while women reported lower scores on the measure of Job Control and higher scores on the Fatigue measure. A final test of predictive validity of the new scales examined their performance in three sets of regression models that looked at Fatigue, Reserve Job Satisfaction, and Mental Health as outcomes. Three of the RSSI scales figured prominently in the final models and performed according to expectations. Both the Demands and Resources scales were significantly associated with all three dependent variables in models that included demographic and other characteristics. The Social Support variable predicted level of mental health. Only the Control variable was not retained in the stepwise model. Finally, test-retest results for all scales at a three-month interval showed reliability coefficients to be at least .71 for all new scales.

These results indicate that unique tools are now available for use in studies of Army Reserve populations. With further information regarding their generalizability, their uses will be better defined. These scales definitely have potential for guiding interventions to decrease stress and increase health and readiness of Army Reservists.


Final Report is available on NTRL at: