As noted in your text, chronic stress (long-term reactions to stressors) and daily hassles can be damaging to your physical and psychological health. No one can avoid stress. However, there are a number of factors that can either contribute to becoming overwhelmed by stress or to flourishing in spite of it. For example, having a sense of control, social support, relaxation, and a sense of meaning can all contribute to effectively combating the effects of stress.
In this exercise, you will complete a number of scales to help you determine your stress level, how you respond to and cope with stress, and resources you have to combat stress. You will use the results of these scales to develop your personal stress profile. To make the exercise more fun, you might want to have you partner, spouse, or friend complete the scales too. That way you can compare your stress profiles.
WHAT YOU MUST DO TO CREATE YOUR PROFILE
Complete and score the following scales. DO NOT READ HOW TO SCORE A SCALE UNTIL AFTER YOU HAVE COMPLETED IT. Stressed Out Susceptibility to Stress (SUS) Response to Stress Scale Are you a Type A or Type B? Coping with Stress Multidimensional Health Locus of Control Locus of Control Life Orientation Test
B. Identify at Least 3 of Your Personal Stressors and 3 Daily Hassles.
C. TURN IN THIS PART ONLY (which incorporates everything from above): Using the above information, write a self-reflection that includes:
1. Your scores on each of the above scales and a statement about what that score means for you (not just what the test says your score means).
2. A summary of your 3 personal stressors and 3 daily hassles (giving examples from your life).
3. A summary of what you might do to reduce your stress.
4. Relate your self-reflection to the information provided in your text.
Scale #1 Stressed Out?
This scale will assess your general level of stress.
Indicate your degree of agreement with each statement by placing a number in the blank before it. Use the following scale.
4 = very often
3 = fairly often
2 = sometimes
1 = almost never
0 = never
____1. How often have you been upset because of something that happened unexpectedly?
____2. How often have you felt that you were unable to control the important things in your life?
____3. How often have you felt nervous and “stressed”?
____4. How often have you felt confident about your ability to handle your personal problems?
____5. How often have you felt that things were going your way?
____6. How often have you been able to control irritations in your life?
____7. How often have you found that you could not cope with all the things that you had to do?
____8. How often have you felt that you were on top of things?
____9. How often have you been angered because of things that were outside your control?
____ 10. How often have you felt difficulties were piling up so high that you could not overcome them?
In obtaining your total score, use the following scale to reverse the number you placed before items 4, 5, 6, and 8: 4 = 0, 3 = 1, 2 = 2, 1 = 3, and 0 = 4. Then, add the numbers in front of all 10 items.
How You Measure Up
Stress levels vary among individuals-compare your total score to the averages below:
AGE GENDER MARITAL STATUS
18-29….14.2 Men 12.1 Widowed 12.6
30-4413.0 Women13.7 Married or living with12.4
45-5412.6 Single or never wed14.1
65-over 12.0 Separated 16.6
Scale # 2 Susceptibility to Stress (SUS)
How susceptible you are to stress depends upon a mix of your health behaviors, life-style, and resources for coping with stress. This test will help you determine your level of susceptibility and the factors that contribute to it. Fill in 1 ( ALMOST ALWAYS)to 5 (NEVER) according to how much of the time an item is true of you.
___1. I eat at least one hot, balanced meal a day.
___2. I get 7-8 hours sleep at least 4 nights a week.
___3. I give and receive affection regularly.
___4. I have at least one relative within 50 miles on whom I can rely.
___5. I exercise to the point of perspiration at least twice a week.
___6. I avoid tobacco use (cigarettes, pipe, cigars, snuff, chewing tobacco).
___7. I consume fewer than 5 alcoholic drinks per week.
___8. I am the appropriate weight for my height.
___9. I have an income adequate to meet basic expenses.
___ 10. I get strength from my religious beliefs.
___ 11. I regularly attend club or social activities.
___ 12. I have a network of friends and acquaintances.
___ 13. I have one or more friends to confide in about personal matters.
___ 14. I am in good health (including eyesight, hearing, teeth).
___ 15. I am able to speak openly about my feelings when angry or worried.
___ 16. I have regular conversations with the people I live with about domestic problems (e.g., chores, money, and daily living issues).
___ 17. I do something for fun at least once a week.
___ 18. I am able to organize my time effectively.
___19 I drink fewer than 3 cups of coffee (or tea or cola drinks) per day.
___ 20. I take quiet time for myself during the day.
___ 21. I have an optimistic outlook on life.
Source: Susceptibility to Stress scale from the Stress Audit, version 5.0-OS, developed by Lyle H. Miller and Alma Dell Smite. Copyright 1987, 1994 Biobehavioral Institute of Boston.
Scoring: To obtain your total score, simply add the numbers you placed in front of the 21 items, and subtract 21. Any number over 32 indicates susceptibility to stress. A total score between 52 and 77 suggests serious susceptibility, and over 77 means extreme susceptibility.
Scale 3# Response to Stress
Indicate how often each of the following happens to you, either when you are experiencing stress or following exposure to a significant stressor. Use the following scale:
0 = never
1 = once a year
2 = every few months
3 = every few weeks
4 = once or more each week
5 = daily
Cardiovascular symptoms Skin symptoms
___ Heart pounding ___ Acne
___ Heart racking or beating erratically ___ Excessive dryness of skin or hair
___ Cold, sweaty hands ___ Dandruff
___ Headaches ___ Perspiration
___ Subtotal ___ Subtotal
Respiratory symptoms Immunity symptoms
___ Rapid, erratic, or shallow breathing ___ Allergy flare-up
___ Shortness of breath ___ Catching colds
___ Asthma attack ___ Catching the flu
___ Difficulty in speaking because of poor breathing ___ Skin rash
___ Subtotal ___ Subtotal
Gastrointestinal symptoms Metabolic symptoms
___ Upset stomach, nausea, or vomiting ___ Increased appetite
___ Constipation ___ Increased craving for tobacco or sweets
___ Diarrhea ___ Thoughts racing or difficulty sleeping
___ Sharp abdominal pains ___ Feelings of crawling or nervousness
___ Subtotal ___ Subtotal
Muscular symptoms ___ Overall symptomatic total (add all
___ Headaches (steady pain) seven subtotals)
___ Back or shoulder pains
___ Muscle tremors or hands shaking
Source: Allen, R., & Hyde, D. (1980). Investigations in stress control, Burgess Publishing, Minn.
Score: Total scores between 0 and 35 indicate a low level of physical stress symptoms and little danger to long-tem physical health. Scores between 36 and 75 are judged to be average and are associated with an increased likelihood of phychophysiological illness. However, there may be no immediate threat to physical health. Scores between 76 and 140 suggest excessive physical stress symptoms; respondents with such high scores should probably take deliberate action to reduce their level of stress and thus to ward off the possibility of psychophysiological disorder.
Scale # 4: Are You a Type A or a Type B?
You can get a general idea of which personality type you more closely resemble by responding to the following statements. Reach each statement and circle one of the numbers that follow it, depending on whether the statement is definitely true for you, mostly true, mostly false, or definitely false. Scoring is explained below.
1 = definitely true 2 = mostly true 3 = mostly false 4 = definitely false
1. I am more restless and fidgety than most people. 1234
2. In comparison with most people I know, I’m not very involved in my work. 1234
3. I ordinarily work quickly and energetically. 1234
4. I rarely have trouble finishing my work. 1234
5. I hate giving up before I’m absolutely sure I’m licked. 1234
6. I am rather deliberate in telephone conversations. 1234
7. I am often in a hurry. 1234
8. I am somewhat relaxed about my work. 1234
9. My achievements are considered to be significantly higher than those of
most people I know.
10. Tailgating bothers me more than a car in front slowing me up. 1234
11. In conversation, I often gesture with hands and head. 1234
12. In rarely drive a car too fast. 1234
13. I prefer work in which I can move around. 1234
14. People consider me to be rather quiet. 1234
15. Sometimes I think I shouldn’t work so hard, but something drives me. 1234
16. I usually speak more softly than most people. 1234
17. My handwriting is rather fast. 1234
18. I often work slowly and deliberately. 1234
19. I thrive on challenging situations. The more challenges I have the better. 1234
20. I prefer to linger over a meal and enjoy it. 1234
21. I like to drive a car rather fast when there is not speed limit. 1234
22. I like work that is not too challenging. 1234
23. In general, I approach my work more seriously than most people I know. 1234
24. I talk more slowly than most people. 1234
25. I’ve often been asked to be an officer of some group or groups. 1234
26. I often let a problem work itself out by waiting. 1 234
27. I often try to persuade others to my point of view. 1234
28. I generally walk more slowly than most people. 1234
29. I eat rapidly even when there is plenty of time. 1234
30. I usually work fast. 1234
31. I get very impatient when I’m behind a slow driver and can’t pass. 1234
32. It makes me mad when I see people not living up to their potential. 1234
33. I enjoy being around children. 1234
34. I prefer walking to jogging. 1234
35. When I’m in the express line at the supermarket, I count the number of
items the person ahead of me has and comment if it’s over the limit. 1234
36. I enjoy reading for pleasure. 1234
37. I have high standards for myself and others. 1234
38. I like hanging around talking to my friends. 1234
39. I often feel that others are taking advantage of me or being inconsiderate. 1234
40. If someone is in a hurry, I don’t mind letting her or her go ahead of me. 1234.
For each statement, two numbers represent Type A answers and two numbers represent Type B answers. Use the scoring sheet to determine how many TYPE A and Type B answers you gave. For example, if you circled 1, definitely true, for the first statement, you chose a Type A answer. Add up all your Type A answers and give yourself plus 1 point for each of them. Add up all of your Type B answers and give yourself minus 1 point for them.
1. 1, 2 + A; 3, 4 = B 11. 1, 2, = A; 3, 4 = B 21. 1, 2 = A; 3, 4 = B 31. 1, 2 =A; 3, 4 = B
2. 1, 2 = B; 3, 4 = A 12. 1, 2 = B; 3, 4 = A 22. 1, 2 = B; 3, 4 =A 32. 1, 2 = A; 3, 4 = B
3. 1, 2 = A; 3, 4 = B 13. 1, 2 = A; 3, 4 = B 23. 1, 2 = A; 3, 4 = B 33. 1, 2 = B; 3, 4 = A
4. 1, 2 = B; 3, 4 = A 14. 1, 2 = B; 3, 4 = A 24. 1, 2 = B; 3, 4 = A 34. 1, 2, = B; 3, 4 = A
5. 1, 2, = A; 3, 4 = B 15. 1, 2 = A; 3, 4 = B 25. 1, 2 = A; 3, 4 = B 35. 1, 2 = A; 3, 4 = B
6. 1, 2 = B; 3, 4 = A 16. 1, 2 = B; 3, 4 = A 26. 1, 2 = B; 3, 4 = A 36. 1, 2 = B; 3, 4 = A
7. 1, 2 = A; 3, 4 = B 17. 1, 2 = A; 3, 4 = B 27. 1, 2 = A; 3, 4 = B 37. 1, 2 = A; 3, 4 = B
8. 1, 2 = B; 3, 4 = A 18. 1, 2 = B; 3, 4 = A 28. 1, 2 = B; 3, 4 = A 38. 1, 2 = B; 3, 4 = A
9. 1, 2 = A; 3, 4 = B 19. 1, 2 = A; 3, 4 = B 29. 1, 2 = A, 3, 4 = B 39 1, 2 = A; 3, 4 = B
10.1, 2 = B; 3, 4 = A 20. 1, 2 = B; 3, 4 = A 30. 1, 2 = A; 3, 4 = B 40. 1, 2 = B; 3, 4 = A
Total number of Type A answers: _____x 1 point each = ______
Total number of Type B answers: _____x -1 point each = ______
Total score (add lines above)______
Determine your personality type based on your total score:
+ 20 to + 40 = Definite A
+1 to + 19 = Moderate A
0 to – 19 = Moderate B
-20 to -40 = Definite B
Source: Insel, P.M., & Roth, W. T. (1998). Wellness Worksheets to accompany Core Concepts in Health, 8/e. Worksheet #10. Copyright 1998 Mayfield Publishing Company.
Scale # 5: Coping with Stress
Different people use different strategies for coping with stress. Some strategies are clearly problem-focused, some are emotion-focused, and some are avoidance-focused. This scale will help you to identify which strategy you tend to use most often.
Take few minutes to identify the most important problem you have faced during the last year. Then, using the scale below, indicate how often you used each of the following strategies to deal with it.
0 = Not at all 1 = A little 2 = Occasionally3 = Fairly often
___ 1. Took things a day at a time.
___ 2. Got away from things for a while.
___ 3. Tried to find out more about the situation.
___ 4. Tried to reduce tension by drinking more.
___ 5. Talked with a professional person (e.g., doctor, lawyer, clergy).
___ 6. Made a promise to myself that things would be different next time.
___ 7. Prepared for the worst.
___ 8. Let my feeling out somehow.
___9. Took it out on other people when I felt angry or depressed.
__ 10. Prayed for guidance and/or strength.
__ 11. Accepted it; nothing could be done.
__ 12. Talked with spouse or another relative about the problem.
__ 13. Talked with a friend about the problem.
__ 14. Tried to reduce tension by taking more tranquilizing drugs.
__ 15. Told myself things that helped me feel better.
__ 16. Kept my feelings to myself.
__ 17. Bargained or compromised to get something positive from the situation.
__ 18. Tried to reduce tension by exercising more.
__ 19. Tried to reduce tension by smoking more.
__ 20. Tried to see the positive side of the situation.
__ 21. Considered several alternatives for handling the problem.
__ 22. Made a plan of action and followed it.
__ 23. Went over the situation in my mind to try to understand it.
__ 24. Tried to reduce tension by eating more.
__ 25. Got busy with other things to keep my mind off the problem.
__ 26. Drew on my past experiences.
__ 27. Avoided being with people in general.
__ 28. I knew what had to be done and tried harder to make things work.
__ 29. Tried to step back from the situation and be more objective.
__ 30. Refused to believe that it happened.
__ 31. Sought help from persons or groups with similar experiences.
__ 32. Tried not to act too hastily or follow my first hunch.
Source: Holahan, C., & Moos, R. (1987). Personal and contextual determinants of coping strategies. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 52, 946-955.
Coping Strategies: You can calculate your average score for each subscale to determine what strategy you tend to use more.
Active-cognitive (active efforts to construct thoughts to help cope with the problems): items 1, 6, 7, 10, 11, 15, 20, 21, 23, 26, and 29. Add the scores for these items to get a total.
Active-behavioral (active efforts to change the situation): items 2, 3, 5, 8, 12, 13, 17, 18, 22, 25, 28, 31, and 32. Add the scores for these items to get a total.
Avoidance (trying to keep the problem out of awareness: items 4, 9, 14, 16, 19, 24, 27, and 30. Add the scores for these items to get a total.
Calculate your average on each subscale by dividing your total by the number of items on that scale (i.e. cognitive = total/11 = your average; behavioral = total/13 = your average; avoidance = total/8 = your average)
Scale # 6: Multidimensional Health Locus of Control Scales
Indicate your degree of agreement with each statement by placing a number in the blank before it. Use the following scale.
6 = strongly agree
5 = moderately agree
4 = slightly agree
3 = slightly disagree
2 = moderately disagree
1 = strongly disagree
___1. If I get sick, it is my own behavior that determines how soon I get well.
___2. I am in control of my health.
___3. When I get sick, I am to blame.
___4. The main thing that affects my health is what I myself do.
___5. It I take care of myself, I can avoid illness.
___6. If I take the right actions, I can stay healthy.
___7. Having regular contact with my physician is the best way for me to avoid illness.
___8. Whenever I don’t feel well, I should consult a medically trained professional.
___9. My family has a lot to do with my becoming sick or staying healthy.
___ 10. Health professionals control my health.
___ 11. When I recover from an illness, it’s usually because other people (e.g., doctors,
nurses, family, and friends) have been taking good care of me.
___12. Regarding my health, I can only do what my doctor tells me to do.
___ 13. No matter what I do, if I am going to get sick, I will get sick.
___ 14. Most things that affect my health happen to me by accident.
___ 15. Luck plays a big part in determining how soon I will recover from an illness.
___ 16. My good health is largely a matter of good fortune.
___ 17. No matter what I do, I’m likely to get sick.
___ 18 If it’s meant to be, I will stay healthy.
Source: Wallston, K., & DeVellis, R. Development of the multidimensional health locus of control scales. Health Education and Behavior, 6, 160-179.
The first six items measure internal health locus of control (one feels personal control over his or her health), items 7 through 12 asses “powerful others” health locus of control (for example, physicians may control one’s health), and the last six items measure chance health locus of control (health is due to fate, luck, or chance).
You simply add the numbers in the blanks. Scores between 23 and 30 on any subscale indicate strong support of that dimension. Scores between 15 and 22 reflect moderate support; scores between 6 and 14 suggest low support.
Scale # 7: Locus of Control
This scale measures one’s sense of control in personal achievement situations.
Indicate the extent to which each of the following statements applies to you. Use the following scale:
1 = disagree strongly
2 = disagree
3 = disagree slightly
4 = neither agree nor disagree
5 = agree slightly
6 = agree
7 = agree strongly
___1. When I get what I want, it’s usually because I worked hard for it.
___2. When I make plans, I am almost certain to make them work.
___3. I prefer games involving some luck over games requiring pure skill.
___4. I can learn almost anything if I set my mind to it.
___5. My major accomplishments are entirely due to my hard work and ability.
___6. I usually don’t set goals because I have a hard time following through on them.
___7. Competition discourages excellence.
___8. Often people get ahead just by being lucky.
___9. On any sort of exam or competition, I like to know how well I do relative to
___ 10. It’s pointless to keep working on something that’s too difficult for me.
Source: Paulhus, D. (1983). Sphere-specific measures of perceived control. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 44, 1253-1265.
Scoring: Reverse the numbers you placed before statements 3, 6, 7, 8, and 10 (i.e., 1 = 7, 2 ==6, 3 = 5, 5 = 3, 6 = 2, 7 = 1). Then add the numbers in front of all items.
The average for college males on this scale = 51.8 and for females = 52.2. The higher the score, the greater the sense of an internal locus of control.
Scale # 8: Scheier & Carver’s Life Orientation Test
This scale assesses a person’s optimism, or more specifically, a person’s expectations regarding the favorability of future outcomes.
Indicate the extent to which you agree with each of the following statements using the following response scale:
0 = strongly disagree
1 = disagree
2 = neutral
3 = agree
4 = strongly agree
Place the appropriate number in the blank before each item.
___1. In uncertain times, I usually expect the best.
___2. It’s easy for me to relax.
___3. If something can go wrong for me, it will.
___4. I always look on the bright side of thinks.
___5. I’m always optimistic about my future.
___6. I enjoy my friends a lot.
___7. It’s important for me to keep busy.
___8. I hardly ever expect things to go my way.
___9. Things never work out the way I want them to.
___ 10. I don’t get upset too easily.
___ 11. I’m a believer in the idea that “every cloud has a silver lining.”
___ 12. I rarely count on good things happening to me.
Source: Scheier, M.F., et al. (1985).Scheier & Carver’s Live Orientation Test. Health Psychology, 4 219-247.
Scoring: First reverse your responses on items 3, 8, 9, and 12 (0 = 4, 1 = 3, 2 =2, 3 = 1, 4 = 0) and then add up the total responses for items 1, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 11, and 12 to obtain a final score (items 2, 6, 7, and 10 are filler items). Scores can range from 0 to 32, with higher scores reflecting greater optimism. The mean score is approximately 21.