Continuing our discussion on Psychoneuroimmunology, we have a little test for you to take. Once while I was at the VA hospital, a nurse administered this test to a group of vets. It's taken me some 4 years to locate it. It is an amazing test that allows us all to take a stress inventory.
Drs Holmes and Rahe [Social Readjustment Rating Scale, Pergamar Press, 1971] developed a list of stressors, each of which most of us will experience at one time or another in this life. Each stressor is given a value called the Life Change Units. As you go through the list, if one of the stressors affects you presently (in the past six months or so), write the Life Change Units (points) for that stressor on a sheet of paper. When you are done, add up the numbers.
Here is what Drs Holmes and Rahe discovered:
If you score between 150 and 299 points, you have a 50% chance of getting sick in the near future. If your score is over 300 points, there is an 80% chance you will get sick.
Again, this study is all about the "average" person. How do we avoid getting ill if we have a high score? Learn to deal with stress, take care of ourselves, and love ourselves. In other words, refuse to be average.
Here is the test designed by Drs Holmes and Rahe:
|1.||Death of spouse/significant other||100|
|5.||Death of close family member||63|
|6.||Personal injury or illness||53|
|8.||Fired at work||47|
|11.||Change in health of a family member||44|
|14.||Gain of new family member||39|
|16.||Change in financial state||38|
|17.||Death of close friend||37|
|18.||Change to a different line of work||36|
|19.||Change in number of arguments with spouse/significant other||35|
|20.||Mortgage over $10,000||31|
|21.||Foreclosure of mortgage or loan||30|
|22.||Change in responsibilities at work||29|
|23.||Son or daughter leaving home||29|
|24.||Trouble with in-laws||29|
|25.||Outstanding personal achievement||28|
|26.||Wife/husband begins or stops work||26|
|27.||Begin or end of school||26|
|28.||Change in living conditions||25|
|29.||Revision of personal habits||24|
|30.||Trouble with Boss||23|
|31.||Change in work hours or conditions||20|
|32.||Change in residence||20|
|33.||Change in recreation||20|
|35.||Change in church activities||19|
|36.||Change in Social activities||18|
|37.||Mortgage or loan less than $10,000||17|
|38.||Change in sleeping habits||16|
|39.||Change in number of family get-togethers||15|
|40.||Change in eating habits||15|
|43.||Minor violation of the law||11|
The first thing most people notice is that some of these Life Changes are "good" things. Good things cause stress too.
This test above, however, is not exactly the same test originally designed. We've added the "significant other" next to spouse because of the alternative relationships that flourish today. Feel free to substitute someone close to you for wife or husband. Also, we put that $10.000 is red because, adjusting for inflation, it is more like 40 or 50 thousand today.
And we chose that six-month period capriciously. Actually, if you think about it, a death of a spouse or significant other can easily affect a person for many years. So, we have to ask ourselves as we take this test: Does this affect me now?
Here is an online (and, apparently updated) version: http://www.cliving.org/lifestresstestscore.htm
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