How to measure your stress


One way to interpret the stress — imagine it as any emotion in an extreme form of expression. That is, fear, anger, sadness, and even joy can produce stress.

Scientists T. Holmes and Robert Reich, think about whether there is a relationship between the strength of stress and susceptibility to disease. For ethical reasons, they could not invite to the laboratory subjects and subject them to stress factors — and what's unlikely this would get an adequate picture of how stress works in real life.

So Holmes and Reich developed a special scale measuring life stress. Scientists have compiled a list of 43 life events that typically cause stress in people and need to adapt to the situation. This list was presented to 394 subjects and asked to rate each item on the degree of stress caused by the event.

Because some people are easier to adjust than others, the reference point was taken event "Marriage" — he was assigned an arbitrary index 50. Assessing all the other events, it was necessary to compare — as far as it is easier or more difficult in terms of adaptation than marriage? Adaptation to it requires more time or less?

The focus of this study, it was on the device in the event, rather than an emotional response or psychological significance of the event. And this is the list of the subjects turned out:

  • The death of a spouse — 100
  • Divorce — 73
  • Patrol — 65
  • Imprisonment — 63
  • The death of a family member — 63
  • Illness or injury — 53
  • The marriage of -50
  • Dismissal from work — 47
  • Marital reconciliation — 45
  • Retirement — 45
  • Changes in the health of a family member — 44
  • Pregnancy — 40
  • Sexual problems — 39
  • The emergence of a new family member — 39
  • Changes in the business — 39
  • Changes in Financial Position — 38
  • The death of a close friend — 37
  • Change nature of work — 36
  • Change the number of marital conflicts — 35
  • Debt of more than $ 10,000 — 31
  • Foreclosure Mortgage — 30
  • Change call of duty — 29
  • Son or daughter leaving home — 29
  • Problems with in-laws — 29
  • Outstanding personal achievement — 28
  • Spouse starts / stops working — 26
  • Admission to the school or its ending — 26
  • Change in living conditions — 25
  • Revaluation personal habits — 24
  • Problems with the boss — 23
  • Changes in routine or working conditions — 20
  • Change in residence — 20
  • Change of school — 20
  • Change the type of holiday — 19
  • Changes in church attendance — 19
  • Changes in social activities — 18
  • Getting a loan or a loan of less than $ 10,000 — 17
  • Changes in sleep and wakefulness — 16
  • Changes in family gatherings and celebrations — 15
  • Changes in habits related to food intake — 15
  • Vacation — 13
  • Christmas — 12
  • Minor violations of the law — 11

How to calculate your level of stress

To calculate your stress level, select from the list of events that happened to you in the past 12 months and add up the scores obtained.

To check the stability of the estimates or inconsistency, the researchers divided the subjects into several groups and determined the correlation of the estimates for each item. Were compared to the results obtained in male and female subgroups, including the young and the elderly, among subjects with high socio-economic status and low. Correlations were high — and it is said that this scale can be used for all people with about the same degree of accuracy.

Stress and susceptibility to disease

But Holmes began his research and Reich to understand related to the strong level of stress from exposure to disease. To this end, they conducted another experiment, which was attended by 2,500 members of ships' crews. It was found that during the six-month voyage in subjects with indicators of the level of life stress than 100 diseases was equal to the average number of 1.4. For those whose level life stress ranged from 300 to 400, the average number of disease was 1.9. A stress test with indices ranging from 500 to 600 — 2.1 Average transferred to disease.

However, this method is subsequently found and its critics. Some of the drawbacks of the scale of measurement of stress is the lack of interpretation of the events of the subjects. For example, retirement for one person may mean the end of a career and social life, and for the other pension may be getting rid of the hateful work.

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