Pregnancy Experience Scale (long and brief versions)


Author of Tool: 

DiPietro, Ghera, Costigan, & Hawkins

Key references: 

DiPietro, J. A., Ghera, M. M., Costigan, K., & Hawkins, M. (2004). Measuring the ups and downs of pregnancy stress.  Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics & Gynecology25, 189-201. 

DiPietro, J. A. Christensen, A. L., & Costigan, K. A. (2008). The pregnancy experience scale-brief version. Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics & Gynecology29, 262-267.

Primary use / Purpose: 

The Pregnancy Experiences Scale (PES), and the Pregnancy Experiences Scale-Brief (PES-Brief), are designed to evaluate maternal appraisal of positive and negative stressors during pregnancy.


A mother’s emotional state during pregnancy has been found to affect child development. Negative emotions have been associated with a variety of undesirable outcomes such as reduced fetal heart rate variability, greater motor activity, disturbances to fetal habituation, spontaneous abortions, shortened length of gestation, pregnancy complications, pre-term delivery, low birth weight, and poorer cognitive and behavioural functioning later in life. Thus, it is important to consider and measure the stressors (both positive and negative) that women experience during pregnancy. The Pregnancy Experiences Scale (PES) was designed for this purpose.  The original version contains 41 items and participants are asked to rate, on four-point likert scale ranging from not at all to a great deal, whether the event or issue described has been uplifting or upsetting. The PES-Brief was designed in response to concerns about the time taken to administer the PES and the level of literacy required to complete it. The PES-Brief contains 20 items, the ten most common hassles and uplifts that have been reported by respondents in previous research, and a simplified rating scale. Both versions of the PES provide important information on stress appraisal and emotional valence towards pregnancy. 


DiPietro et al. (2004) evaluated the psychometric properties of the PES. DiPietro and colleagues (2008) examined the psychometric properties of the brief version of the scale.



PDF iconPES-BriefPDF iconPES

Other Information: 

Other keywords: pregnancy, child, parenting

Scoring is described in DiPietro et al. (2004).

Digital Object Identifier (DOI):


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