How do you think about stress? A qualitative analysis of beliefs about stress

Christopher Jon Kilby*, Kerry A. Sherman, Viviana Wuthrich

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    1 Citation (Scopus)


    This qualitative study aimed to identify common stress beliefs. Undergraduate psychology students (N = 35) completed semi-structured interviews discussing the sensations, causes, purpose, valence, consequences, control, and timeline of stress. Interviews were analysed via double-coded thematic analysis employing a latent, inductive, and realist framework. Five themes (cognition, emotion, physical health, interpersonal relations, and behaviour) and 17 subthemes were identified. Themes and subthemes were validated in a Delphi study of experts in stress research (N = 14). Many of these identified beliefs have not been incorporated into current measures of stress beliefs, suggesting the need for new approaches to measuring this construct.

    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages12
    JournalJournal of Health Psychology
    Early online date12 Jun 2020
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Jun 2020


    • beliefs
    • psychological distress
    • qualitative methods
    • stress
    • stress-related growth

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