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Open Access Research article

Factor structure and psychometric properties of the trier inventory for chronic stress (TICS) in a representative german sample

Katja Petrowski1*, Sören Paul1, Cornelia Albani2 and Elmar Brähler2

Author Affiliations

1 Dresden University of Technology, Department of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatic Medicine, Fetscherstrasse 74, Dresden D-01307, Germany

2 University of Leipzig, Department of Medical Psychology and Medical Sociology, Philipp-Rosenthal-Strasse 55, Leipzig D-04103, Germany

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BMC Medical Research Methodology 2012, 12:42  doi:10.1186/1471-2288-12-42

Published: 1 April 2012

Abstract

Background

Chronic stress results from an imbalance of personal traits, resources and the demands placed upon an individual by social and occupational situations. This chronic stress can be measured using the Trier Inventory for Chronic Stress (TICS). Aims of the present study are to test the factorial structure of the TICS, report its psychometric properties, and evaluate the influence of gender and age on chronic stress.

Methods

The TICS was answered by N = 2,339 healthy participants aged 14 to 99. The sample was selected by random-route sampling. Exploratory factor analyses with Oblimin-rotated Principal Axis extraction were calculated. Confirmatory factor analyses applying Robust Maximum Likelihood estimations (MLM) tested model fit and configural invariance as well as the measurement invariance for gender and age. Reliability estimations and effect sizes are reported.

Results

In the exploratory factor analyses, both a two-factor and a nine-factor model emerged. Confirmatory factor analyses resulted in acceptable model fit (RMSEA), with model comparison fit statistics corroborating the superiority of the nine-factor model. Most factors were moderately to highly intercorrelated. Reliabilities were good to very good. Measurement invariance tests gave evidence for differential effects of gender and age on the factor structure. Furthermore, women and younger individuals, especially those aged 35 to 44, tended to report more chronic stress than men and older individuals.

Conclusions

The proposed nine-factor structure could be factorially validated, results in good scale reliability, and heuristically can be grouped by two higher-order factors: "High Demands" and "Lack of Satisfaction". Age and gender represent differentiable and meaningful contributors to the perception of chronic stress.

Keywords:
Chronic stress; Representative survey; Factor analysis; Measurement invariance