The Development of International Postgraduate Students Academic Stress Scale (IPSASS)

Nasib Tua Lumban Gaol (1*),

(1) Universitas Pelita Harapan Medan
(*) Corresponding Author


This research aims to develop a reliable and valid scale, International Postgraduate Students Academic Stress Scale (IPSASS), for measuring the level of academic stress on international postgraduate students. An 80-item prototype was developed by reviewing literature and interviews. Item analysis was conducted to understand the contribution of each item. Based on analysis of Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA), there are 56 items of the IPSASS selected. The IPSASS consists of seven subscales, including (1) Learning Process, (2) Time Management, (3) Financial Problems, (4) Relationship’s Building, (5) Supervision, (6) Acquiring Resources and (7) Academic Performance. In addition, based on the empirical data, technical specifications relating to reliabilities and validity have been down for the IPSASS. The results of this research can be used in three aspects. First, it can explore the level of academic stress in various aspects on each international postgraduate student. Second, it can help university authorities to understand the sources and level of academic stress on international postgraduate students for setting up the guidance strategies. Third, it can also help higher education authorities for dealing with the academic stress to the further education policy making.


Scale development, academic stress scale, reliability, validity


Agolla, J. E., & Ongori, H. (2009). An assessment of academic stress among undergraduate students: The case of university of Botswana. Educational Research and Reviews, 4(2), 63-70.

Akhtar, M., & Kröner-Herwig, B. (2015). Acculturative stress among international students in context of socio-demographic variables and coping styles. Current Psychology, 34(4), 803-815.

Adrian-Taylor, S. R., Noels, K. A., & Tischler, K. (2007). Conflict between international graduate students and faculty supervisors: Toward effective conflict prevention and management strategies. Journal of Studies in International Education, 11(1), 90-117.

Alzaeem, A. Y., Sulaiman, S. A. S., & Gillani, S. W. (2010). Assessment of the validity and reliability for a newly developed Stress in Academic Life Scale (SALS) for pharmacy undergraduates. International Journal of Collaborative Research on Internal Medicine & Public Health, 2(7), 239-256.

Calaguas, G. M. (2012). Survey of college academic stressors: Development of a new measure. International Journal of Human Sciences, 9(1), 441-457.

Chen, L. W., & Liu, H. K. J. (2011). The Internationalization of higher education in Taiwan: Are we on the right track? International Journal of Organizational Innovation, 3(4), 95-105.

Chen, C. P. (1999). Professional issues: Common stressors among international college students: Research and counseling implications. Journal of College Counseling, 2(1), 49-65.

Chou, C. P., Roberts, A., & Ching, G. S. (2012). A study on the international students’ perception and norms in Taiwan. International Journal of Research Studies in Education, 1(2), 71-84.

Ching, G. S., Chao, P. C., & Lien, W. C. (2014). Acculturative hassles and strategies: Relationship between study abroad related depression, anxiety, and stress. International Journal of Research Studies in Psychology, 3(5), 3-35. s

Costello, A. B., & Osborne, J. W. (2005). Best practices in exploratory factor analysis: Four recommendations for getting the most from your analysis. Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation, 10(7), 1–9.

Dusselier, L., Dunn, B., Wang, Y., Shelley II, M. C., & Whalen, D. F. (2005). Personal, health, academic, and environmental predictors of stress for residence hall students. Journal of American College Health, 54(1), 15-24.

Hashim, I. H., & Zhiliang, Y. (2003). Cultural and gender differences in perceiving stressors: a cross‐cultural investigation of African and Western students in Chinese colleges. Stress and Health, 19(4), 217-225.

Hechanova-Alampay, R., Beehr, T. A., Christiansen, N. D., & Van Horn, R. K. (2002). Adjustment and strain among domestic and international student sojourners: A longitudinal study. School Psychology International, 23(4), 458-474.

Hyun, J., Quinn, B., Madon, T., & Lustig, S. (2007). Mental health need, awareness, and use of counseling services among international graduate students. Journal of American College Health, 56(2), 109-118.

Floyd, F. J., & Widaman, K. F. (1995). Factor analysis in the development and refinement of clinical assessment instruments. Psychological assessment, 7(3), 286-299.

Furr, M. (2011). Scale construction and psychometrics for social and personality psychology. SAGE Publications Ltd.

Jenkins, J. R., & Galloway, F. (2009). The adjustment problems faced by international and overseas Chinese students studying in Taiwan universities: a comparison of student and faculty/staff perceptions. Asia Pacific Education Review, 10(2), 159-168.

Khawaja, N. G., & Dempsey, J. (2007). Psychological distress in international university students: An Australian study. Australian Journal of Guidance and Counselling, 17(01), 13-27.

Kim, S. A. (2011). Predictors of acculturative stress among international music therapy students in the United States. Music Therapy Perspectives, 29(2), 126-132.

Kline, P. (2013). The new psychometrics: Science, psychology and measurement. USA: Routledge.

Konduri, N., Gupchup, G. V., Borrego, M. E., & Worley-Louis, M. (2006). Assessment of the reliability and validity of a stress questionnaire for pharmacy administration graduate students. College Student Journal, 40(1), 78-90.

Lakaev, N. (2009). Validation of an Australian academic stress questionnaire. Australian journal of guidance and counseling, 19(1), 56-70.

Lin, Y. M., & Chen, F. S.(2009) Academic Stress Inventory of Students at universities and colleges of technology. World Transactions on Engineering and Technology, 7(2), 157-162.

Lee, K. W. (2004). A comparative analysis of foreign student needs in Taiwan. Hsuan Chuang Jen Wen Journal, 92 (2), 1-26. Hsin-Chu, Taiwan: Hsuan Chuang University.

Kono, K., Eskandarieh, S., Obayashi, Y., Arai, A., & Tamashiro, H. (2015). Mental health and its associated variables among international students at a Japanese University: With special reference to their financial status. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 17(6), 1654-1659.

Lin, S. H., & Huang, Y. C. (2014). Life stress and academic burnout. Active Learning in Higher Education, 15(1), 77-90.

McLachlan, D. A., & Justice, J. (2009). A grounded theory of international student well-being. Journal of Theory Construction & Testing, 13(1), 27-32.

Mukminin, A., & McMahon, B. J. (2013). International graduate students’ cross-cultural academic engagement: Stories of Indonesian doctoral students on an American Campus. The Qualitative Report, 18(35), 1-19.

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development [OECD]. (2014). Indicator C4: Who studies abroad and where? In Education at a glance 2014: Highlights (pp. 342-362).

Oswalt, S. B., & Riddock, C. C. (2007). What to do about being overwhelmed: Graduate students, stress, and university services. College Student Affairs Journal, 27(1), 24-44.

Robotham, D., & Julian, C. (2006). Stress and the higher education student: a critical review of the literature. Journal of further and higher education, 30(02), 107-117.

Spiridon, K., & Evangelia, K. (2015). Exploring relationships between academic hardiness, academic stressors and achievement in university undergraduates, Journal of Applied Educational and Policy Research, 1(1), 53-73.

Williams, B., Brown, T., & Onsman, A. (2012). Exploratory factor analysis: A five-step guide for novices. Journal of Emergency Primary Health Care (JEPHC), 8(3), 1-13

Worthington, R. L., & Whittaker, T. A. (2006). Scale development research a content analysis and recommendations for best practices. The Counseling Psychologist, 34(6), 806-838.

Yan, K., & Berliner, D. C. (2009). Chinese international students' academic stressors in the United States. College Student Journal, 43(4), 939-960.

Yang, B., & Clum, G. A. (1995). Measures of life stress and social support specific to an Asian student population. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 17(1), 51-67.

Zeidner, M. (1992). Sources of academic stress: the case of first year Jewish and Arab college students in Israel. Higher Education, 24(1), 25-40.

Nasib Tua Lumban Gaol
Universitas Pelita Harapan Medan

10.24127/gdn.v7i2.908 31 Views, Vol 7, No 2 (2017) Section: ARTICLES Submitted: 2017-07-21 Published: 2017-12-30