An analysis is made of the magnetic stress anisotropy field Hks, arising from internal and external stress sources in plated-wire memory elements. The analysis takes into consideration circumferential composition variation and cylindrical geometry of the Permalloy film. Expressions are derived relating Hksto uniaxial film stress, average composition, and amplitude of composition variation. A result of particular importance is that even for average zeromagnetostrictive composition (ZMC) films, Hksmay still make an appreciable contribution to the total anisotropy field if the composition is not uniform. Calculated Hkscharacteristics are shown to correlate with anisotropy field changes observed in annealing experiments. Examples are given to show the importance of composition uniformity in determining the stability of the anisotropy field. The utility of the analysis is extended by the inclusion of data expressing the inverse relation between anisotropy field and easy-axis dispersion in the film.