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The Stress Test

In today’s society, most of us can’t avoid stress. But we can learn to behave in ways that lesson its effects. Researchers have identified a number of factors that affect one’s vulnerability to stress- among them are eating and sleeping habits, caffeine and alcohol intake, and how we express our emotions. 

The following questionnaire is designed to help you discover your vulnerability to stress. Rate each item from 1 (always) to 5 (never), according to how much of the time the statement is true of you. Be sure to mark each item, even if it does not apply to you (for example, if you don’t smoke, circle 1 next to item six). 

  Always Sometimes Never
1. I eat at least one hot, balanced meal a day 1 2 3 4 5
2. I get seven to eight hours of sleep at least four nights a week. 1 2 3 4 5
3. I give and receive affection regularly. 1 2 3 4 5
4. I have at least one relative within 50 miles on whom I can rely. 1 2 3 4 5
5. I exercise to the point of perspiration at least twice a week. 1 2 3 4 5
6. I avoid tobacco use (cigarettes, pipes, cigars, snuff and chewing tobacco). 1 2 3 4 5
7. I have fewer than 5 alcohol drinks a week. 1 2 3 4 5
8. I am the appropriate weight for my height. 1 2 3 4 5
9. I have an income adequate to meet basic expenses. 1 2 3 4 5
10. I get strength from my religious beliefs. 1 2 3 4 5
11. I regularly attend club or social activities. 1 2 3 4 5
12. I have a network of friends and acquaintances. 1 2 3 4 5
13. I have one or more friends to confide in about personal matters. 1 2 3 4 5
14. I am in good health (including eyesight, hearing and teeth). 1 2 3 4 5
15. I am able to speak openly about my feelings when angry or worried. 1 2 3 4 5
16. I have regular conversations with the people I live with about domestic problems (e.g. chores, money and daily living issues). 1 2 3 4 5
17. I do something for fun at least once a week. 1 2 3 4 5
18. I am able to organize my time effectively. 1 2 3 4 5
19. I drink fewer than 3 cups of coffee (or tea or cola) a day. 1 2 3 4 5
20. I take some quiet time for myself during the day. 1 2 3 4 5
21. I have an optimistic outlook on life. 1 2 3 4 5
22. I am able to forgive old hurts, embarrassments, and insults. 1 2 3 4 5

Interpretation of scores: 
Below 50 = Indicates excellent resistance to stress. 
50-80       = Indicates some vulnerability to stress. 
Over 80   = You are seriously vulnerable to stress. 

You can make yourself less vulnerable by reviewing the items on which you scored 3 or higher and trying to modify them. Notice that nearly all of them describe situations and behaviors over which you have a great deal of control. Concentrate first on those that are easiest to change- for example, eating a hot, balance meal daily and having fun at least once a week- before tackling those that seem difficult. 

Source: University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter, August 1985. Scale Developers: Lyle Miller and Alma Dell Smith of Boston University Medical Center.
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Member Comments

I think most are under the stress of COVID 19 and some of these questions are out of date with regards to that. Isolation is not fun. Report
thanks Report
thanks Report
I don't know why religion was brought up, and in the time of COVID-19 most of these questions don't apply. It's hard to take a stress test when have the questions are basically null and void. Also I agree I'm not a huge social butterfly so some of these questions don't apply personally to me. Report
This article is a really great stress-minder. Thank you! Report
Thank you Report
Good questions Report
I agree with the person that said she was not a social butterfly, some of the questions are not taking into account that lots of people live alone, I don’t discuss things with household members because it is just me, guess I could discuss them with the cat lol. I feel much more relaxed having time to do my pursuits then flitting around with others. Report
Thank you Report
Not sure how good an indicator this scale was for me. I scored on the "somewhat vulnerable" range because I got 4s and 5s for questions about relationships, social networks, social activities, etc. These are more or less nonexistant in my life -- but that is by personal choice, and I am OK with that. Not everybody on this planet is wired to be social butterflies, and I tend to find all that MORE stressful than solitude.

And I really don't feel particularly stressed out at all. Report
Thanks Report
I don't have to worry about #7 because I don't drink alcohol at all, but for the rest, it's either a 1 or 2. Report
Great article! Report
Excellent! Report
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