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Responses to Stress Questionnaire (RSQ)

General Description:

The RSQ measures coping and involuntary stress responses. It begins with a checklist of stressors that pertain to a specific stressful situation or domain of stress (e.g., parental depression, childhood cancer, family conflict, economic hardship, chronic pain, academic stressors), which the participant rates in terms of how often each stressor has occurred in the recent past (versions are available for most stressors to obtain adolescents’ self-reports, parents’ reports about their child, and parents’ reports about themselves). The questionnaire then asks the participant to keep those specific stressors in mind when responding to the items that comprise the stress responses. Participants rate how often they use each coping method or experience each type of involuntary stress response on a scale of 1 (Not at all) to 4 (A lot). Some items require participants to select an answer on the 1 to 4 scale and write in additional information to describe specifically how they employed that particular coping strategy. The RSQ contains items to measure three types of coping and two types of involuntary stress responses. The measure thus yields five factors: primary control coping, secondary control coping, disengagement coping, involuntary engagement, and involuntary disengagement. Proportion scores can then be created for each factor, thus controlling for individual differences in rates of endorsing items.

For what populations can it be used?

The RSQ can be filled out by children and adults regarding their own personal coping and involuntary stress responses and parents can also fill out the RSQ in regards to how their children respond to stress. The RSQ can be used for many types of stressors, and various versions have been created to measure specific stressful situations experienced by children and families. It has been used with clinical populations (e.g. families coping with parental depression) as well as pediatric populations (e.g. children with cancer).

In what languages is it available?


Here are the Versions we have currently Translated:

  • Dutch: Child Self-Report – Maternal Depression
  • Thai: Parent Report on Child – Pediatric Cancer, Child Self-Report – Pediatric Cancer
  • Spanish: Parent Self-Report – Pediatric Cancer, Parent Report on Child – Pediatric Cancer
  • Portuguese: Parent Report on Child – Pediatric Sickle Cell Disease, Child Self-Report – Pediatric Cancer (Survivor)
  • Norwegian: Child Self-Report – COVID-19, Parent Report on Child – COVID-19
  • Indonesian: Child Self-Report – COVID-19
  • Croatian: Child Self-Report – Family Stress, Child Self-Report – Peer Stress
  • Danish: Child Self-Report – Sibling with a Mental Illness

To translate the RSQ into a different language, please contact the Stress and Coping lab by filling out a RSQ request form:

For the translation, we require a forward translation into the new language be sent to us for our records and a back translation into English for approval so we can ensure the validity.


1. Is there an RSQ for “general stress” or “general coping style”?

The RSQ is designed to capture the ways that individuals cope with and react to specific sources or domains of stress, as research suggests that coping is stressor or domain specific. Therefore, there is not a version of the RSQ designed to assess the ways that individuals “typically” or “generally” cope with stress.

2. Is there a short version of the RSQ?

No. Use of the RSQ requires all 57 items. This is because of the way the measure has been designed and the way that the measure is scored. There are other coping measures available that are shorter than the RSQ that you may want to consider.

3. Can I use only the stressor items of the RSQ?

As each version targets a specific stressor (e.g., pain) or domain of stress (e.g., family stress, stress related to cancer), the items in those versions of the RSQ are not designed to be a measure of stressful events or stressors within a domain. They serve the purpose to focus the participant on that specific stressor when responding to items that comprise the stress response. Therefore, we do not distribute those items as valid measures of stress.

4. Is there a minimum age for completing the RSQ?

Children must be at least 9 years old to complete the RSQ.

5. What if there is not a version listed for the stressor or domain I want to study?

If you are interested in using the RSQ but do not find a version for the domain of stress you are studying and want to have one developed, please contact the stress and coping lab by filling out our request form here: Read section on the bottom of this page titled “Requests to develop an RSQ version for a new domain of stress”.

6. Where do I find more information about scoring the RSQ?

If you need more information about scoring the RSQ, please fill out a RSQ request form here:  and we will send you detailed information about scoring. Scoring the RSQ requires the use of SPSS software.

Downloads for all existing RSQs

NOTE: In order to insure continued standardization of the RSQ, no changes in the measure can be made without consultation from Bruce Compas or a member of the Vanderbilt Stress and Coping Lab.


RSQ – Huntington’s disease

RSQ – Academic Problems

RSQ – Nursing School (Pre-Licensure)

RSQ – Autism Risk

RSQ – Family Stress

RSQ – Financial Problems

RSQ – Interpersonal Stress

RSQ – Multiple Sclerosis

  • Child Self-Report RSQ – Multiple Sclerosis
  • Parent Report on Child RSQ – Multiple Sclerosis

RSQ – Parental Conflict

RSQ – Parental Cancer

RSQ – Parental Depression

RSQ – Parental Traumatic Brain Injury

RSQ – Pediatric Brain Tumor

RSQ – Pediatric Cancer- In Treatment

RSQ- Pediatric Cancer-Survivor

RSQ – Pediatric Diabetes

RSQ – Pediatric Epilepsy

RSQ – Pediatric Headaches

RSQ – Pediatric Hospitalization

RSQ – Pediatric Pain

RSQ – Pediatric Physical Condition (Somatization)

RSQ – Pediatric POTS

RSQ – Pediatric Recurrent Abdominal Pain

RSQ – Pediatric Sickle Cell

RSQ – Pediatric Heart Problems

RSQ – Pediatric Traumatic Brain Injury

RSQ – Pediatric Chronic Health Condition (General)

RSQ – Pediatric Chronic Illnesses (Non-Specific Stressors)

RSQ – Peer Stress (College Student)

RSQ – Peer Stress

RSQ – Pregnancy

RSQ – New Motherhood

RSQ – Sibling With A Chronic Illness

RSQ – Spastic Cerebral Palsy

RSQ – Stalking

RSQ – Tornado

RSQ – Tourette’s Syndrome

RSQ – Violence

Requests to Develop an RSQ version for a new Domain of Stress

If you do not find a version above for the domain of stress you are studying, you can request that one be developed. The RSQ is designed to measure coping with a specific type (or domain) of stress. To help you develop a version of the RSQ for your study, we will need to know what type of stress you are studying (e.g. peer stress, pediatric cancer). Please include that in your submission of the form in the link below along with who will be asked to complete the RSQ (eg. parent and child). Please e-mail us at  and provide us with the following details:

1. Your name

2.Your Title

3.Your Institution

4. Your E-mail

5. Type of Stress ( Domain of Stress-e.g. peer stress, pediatric cancer)

6. Who will be asked to complete the RSQ? (eg. Parent and child, just parents)

7. Topic of Proposed Research (one to two sentences)

As always, if you have any questions feel free to add them into the request form as well!

Key References: