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

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
Stressors are in my home. Report
51....i know i am stressed.....30 of those "stress" points are probably from dealing with kids 10 months out of the year! Bus driver..... Report
I scored 26 and the only reason it is that high is because I am not quite at the weight I want to be. I have a committed practice of living stress free and it seems to have become quite effective. Yea! Life is good!!! Report
Thanks for the information Report
45 but I sometime still think i'm more stressed...just need to be more relaxed and not over think!! Report
I believe we all have a little stress, some people do not like admitting to it because then they feel like a failure. Report
According to this list I am not stressed but that is not how I feel a lot of times. Report
Glad to see that by this test I am not at all stressed Report