Development and initial validation of the brief adolescent life event scale (BALES)

Golan Shahar, Christopher C. Henrich, Iris C. Reiner, Todd D. Little

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


We report initial validity analyses of the Brief Adolescent Life Event Scale (BALES). This instrument addresses negative and positive events pertinent to the well being of adolescent boys and girls, and is designed for use in studies utilizing an extended research protocol. Selection of items was guided by emerging perspectives on positive psychology, action theory, and personality vulnerability, as well as by new developments in statistical modeling theory. The 36 items of the scale tap negative and positive events, each of which addresses interpersonal and achievement life domains. Using a large sample of early-adolescents (N = 895), we confirmed the hypothesized structure that includes four domain-level latent factors (i.e., negative interpersonal events, negative achievement events, positive interpersonal events, positive achievement events), and two overarching factors (negative events and positive events). Indices of positive and negative events predicted adolescent depressive symptoms in expected ways, and positive events buffered the effect of negative events on depressive symptoms. These findings encourage an informed use of the BALES and highlight considerations involved in the development of brief measures of stress and coping processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-128
Number of pages10
JournalAnxiety, Stress and Coping
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Action theory
  • Brief adolescent life event scale (BALES)
  • Positive psychology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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