A finite-element method taking into account plasticity and temperature-dependent properties of materials was used to calculate the stress distribution in interconnecting studs of a three-dimensional multilevel device structure. A good correlation between the calculated locations of stress concentration and the experimentally observed failure sites was obtained. On the basis of this, the failure mechanisms associated with different stress components were inferred. In addition, the calculated locations of stress concentration were found to migrate as temperature changed. The phenomenon was also observed experimentally.