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Assessment of the validity and reliability for a newly developed Stress in Academic Life Scale (SALS) for pharmacy undergraduates

Background & Objectives: Stress results from perception of individual to external threats. Stress in academic life affects all college students regardless of their programs. It has been well established in many studies that pharmacy students suffer a massy amount of stress but empirical evidence with regard to how much stress affects pharmacy students and how they cope with it is still needed. The present paper vows constructing a special tool to be used in gauging stress of pharmacy undergraduates.

Method: The Stress in Academic Life Scale (SALS) was answered by 388 Malaysian pharmacy undergraduate students from Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) during an experimental session. Face validity was obtained earlier in an extensive pilot study involving 100 participants. Content validity was established along with piloting. Exploratory factor analysis was conducted to confirm the multi-dimensional structure and further validity. Principal component factor extraction with Varimax rotation had decided the final factors matrix and items loading.

Results: Reliability for SALS measured by Cronbach’s α coefficient was 0.860 (ranging from 0.501 to 0.701 for the factors). All correlations between the factors were significant (p < 0.05; two-tailed Pearson’s; n = 388). Significant correlation (p < 0.05; two-tailed Pearson’s; n = 264) between similar related variables of SALS and the Modified Stress Questionnaire has demonstrated construct (convergent) validity for the new scale. SALS’s components expressed 52.7% of the total explained variance.

Conclusion: Outcome of validity tests, reliability, and correlational matrices had all demonstrated statistical stability for SALS as a scale. Diversity of stressors from academic, emotional, social, and other interactions which embraces the academic life in pharmacy school make SALS applicable for usage to measure stress specifically among pharmacy undergraduate students.

Author(s): Ali Yousif Alzaeem, Syed Azhar Syed Sulaiman, Syed Wasif Gillani

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