The Ecological Momentary Assessment of Stressful Events is a brief measure of momentary experiences of stress aimed to be administered in ecologically valid environments close in time to the occurrence of stressful events. The goal of this measurement strategy is to minimize retrospective recall biases that can accompany the reporting of stress. The EMA measure consists of a brief set of stem and conditional questions that can be administered via smartphones as people go about their daily activities. The stem question assesses whether a stressful event has recently occurred (“Did anything stressful occur since the last survey?”), followed by a series of follow-ups that assess characteristics of the stressor (e.g., event type, timing, and intensity).
The Ecological Momentary Assessment of Stressful Events is a within-person measure that assesses stressful experiences dynamically for individuals over multiple time points throughout multiple days. This measure has been used in a variety of studies that vary in the frequency of assessment and the number of days (Damaske, Zawadzki, & Smyth, 2016; Scott et al., 2015; Slwinski et al., 2009). Compared to more static global reports of stress, this within-person approach permits the recording of stress as it naturally occurs in everyday life. As part of the assessment of the stress experience, different aspects are captured that may explain differences across stressor exposure – namely the domain of the stressor and its subjectively appraised intensity. The EMA approach permits the report of stress as it naturally occurs in during everyday life. Although everyone experiences stress, there is considerable variation in the nature of stress and its effects on health behaviors and health outcomes, both between and within individuals (Smyth et al., 2017, Smyth et al., 2013). The EMA assessment of stress is a sensitive and informative measure that identifies who is broadly at risk for stress-related dysfunction (i.e., between-person effect), but, more importantly, also identifies situations and times when people are at risk for unhealthy behaviors. This within-person approach reveals dynamic processes within individuals that can be used as targets for interventions. (Symth et al., 2017).
[+] PMCID, PUBMED ID, or CITATION
Text Citation: Scott, S. B., Ram, N., Smyth, J. M., Almeida, D. M., & Sliwinski, M. J. (2017). Age differences in negative emotional responses to daily stressors depend on time since event. Developmental Psychology, 53(1), 177-190.
Text Citation: Scott, S. B., Graham-Engeland, J. E., Engeland, C. G., Smyth, J. M., Almeida, D. M., Katz, M. J., & ... Sliwinski, M. J. (2015). The Effects of Stress on Cognitive Aging, Physiology and Emotion (ESCAPE) Project. BMC Psychiatry, 15(1), 1-14. doi:10.1186/s12888-015-0497-7
Text Citation: Damaske, S., Zawadzki, M., & Smyth, J. (2016). Stress at work: Differential experiences of high versus low SES workers. Social Science & Medicine, 156, 125-133.
Text Citation: Sliwinski, M. J., Almeida, D. M., Smyth, J., & Stawski, R. S. (2009). Intraindividual change and variability in daily stress processes: Findings from two measurement-burst diary studies. Psychology and Aging, 24, 828-840. doi: 10.1037/a0017925
Text Citation: Almeida, D. M. (2005). Resilience and vulnerability to daily stressors assessed via diary methods. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 14, 64-68. doi: 10.1111/j.0963-7214.2005.00336.x
Text Citation: Smyth, J. M., et al., (2017)Everyday stress response targets in the science of behavior change, Behaviour Research and Therapy, doi.org/10.1016
Text Citation: Smyth, J., Zawadzki, M., & Gerin, W. (2013). Stress and health: A structural and functional analysis of chronic stress. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 7, 217–227.
Text Citation: Smyth, J., Juth, V., Ma, J. & Sliwinski, M. (2017). A slice of life: Ecologically valid methods for research on social relationships and health across the lifespan. Social and Personality Psychology Compass.
This measure has not been measured yet.
This measure has not been influenced yet.
This measure has not been validated yet.
The Science of Behavior Change (SOBC) program seeks to promote basic research on the initiation, personalization and maintenance of behavior change. By integrating work across disciplines, this effort will lead to an improved understanding of the underlying principles of behavior change. The SOBC program aims to implement a mechanisms-focused, experimental medicine approach to behavior change research and to develop the tools required to implement such an approach. The experimental medicine approach involves: identifying an intervention target, developing measures to permit verification of the target, engaging the target through experimentation or intervention, and testing the degree to which target engagement produces the desired behavior change.
Within the SOBC Measures Repository, researchers have access to measures of mechanistic targets that have been (or are in the processing of being) validated by SOBC Research Network Members and other experts in the field. The SOBC Validation Process includes three important stages of evaluation for each proposed measure: Identification, Measurement, and Influence.
The first stage of validation requires a measure to be Identified within the field; there must be theoretical support for the specific measure of the proposed mechanistic target or potential mechanism of behavior change. This evidence may include references for the proposed measure, or theoretical support for the construct that the proposed measure is intended to assess. The second stage of validation requires demonstration that the level and change in level of the chosen mechanistic target can be Measured with the proposed measure (assay). For example, if the proposed measure is a questionnaire, the score on the measure should indicate the activity of the target process, and it must have strong psychometric properties. The third stage of validation requires demonstration that the measure can be Influenced; there must be evidence that the measured target is malleable and responsive to manipulation. Evidence relating to each stage includes at least one peer-reviewed publication or original data presentation (if no peer-reviewed research is available to support the claim) and is evaluated by SOBC Research Network Members and experts in the field.
Once a measure has gone through these three stages, it will then either be Validated or Not validated according to SOBC Research Network standards. If a measure is Validated, then change in the measured target was reliably associated with Behavior Change. If a measure is Not validated, then change in the measured target was not reliably associated with Behavior Change. Why would we share measures that are not validated? The SOBC Research Network values open, rigorous, and transparent research. Our goal is to make meaningful progress and develop replicable and effective interventions in behavior change science. Therefore, the SOBC sees value in providing other researchers in the field with information regarding measures that work and measures that fall short for specific targets. Further, a measure that is not validated for one target in one population may be validated in another target or population.
Want to learn more? For any questions regarding the SOBC Validation Process or Measures Repository, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Has the mechanism been identified as a potential target for behavior change? This section summarizes theoretical support for the mechanism.
Have the psychometric properties of this measure been assessed? This section includes information such as content validity, internal consistency, and test-retest reliability.
Has a study manipulation led to change in the mechanism? This section addresses evidence that this measure is modifiable by experimental manipulation or clinical intervention.
Has a change in this mechanism been associated with behavior change? This section addresses empirical evidence that causing change in the measure reliably produces subsequent behavior change.