Life Stress Test

Below is a questionnaire that measures the amount of stress that you have experienced over the past 1-2 years.  Each event is assigned a numerical value relative to how stressful the experience is as measured by researchers at the University of Washington.  Mark down the events that you have experienced within the past 2 years, and tally your score.

1-149 indicates that you have low susceptibility to a stress-related illness

150-299 indicates medium susceptibility to a stress-related illness

300 and higher indicates high susceptibility to a stress-related illness


Death of a spouse


36 Change to different line of work 37 Death of a close friend
65 Marital separation (or separation from any major intimate relationship) 63  Jail term
63 Death of a close family member 53 Personal injury or illness
44 Major change in health or behavior of a family member 47 Being fired from work
40 Sexual difficulties 45 Marital reconciliation
39 Gain of new family member thru birth, adoption, or remarriage 45 Retirement
39 Business readjustment 40 Pregnancy
38 Major change in finances 50 Marriage
35 Increase in number of arguments with spouse 23 Trouble with boss/superior
31 Mortgage or loan for major purchase (i.e. home, etc.) 30 Foreclosure of mortgage or loan
29 Changes in responsibility at work 29 Son or daughter leaving home
28 Outstanding Personal Achievement 26 Spouse stops work outside of home
29 Trouble with in-laws 26 Going back to school
25 Change in living condition (rebuilding, remodeling) 20 Change in residence
20 Change in work hours or responsibilities 20 Change in school
24 Revision/change of personal habits 19 Change in recreational habits
19 Change in church/spiritual activities 18 Change in social activities
17 Purchase of major items (auto, computer, etc) 16 Change in sleeping habits
15 Change in number of family get-togethers 15 Change in eating habits
15 Vacation 12 Christmas
11 Minor violations of the law (e.g., traffic tickets, misdemeanors)


Stress is not listed as one of the top 10 causes of death in the U.S., however studies have shown that stress does play a significant role in both heart disease and stroke which ARE two of the top 10 killers of Americans.  The list of stressful life events above obtained from is a guideline of empirically validated stressful life events.  To be sure, a score above 300 is alarming however coping skills play a huge role in one’s ability to either successfully metabolize the stress, or to become overwhelmed by it.  Similarly, a score below 150 is low, however if one has weak coping skills this amount of stress can also become unbearable.  Therapy is a great way to help manage one’s stress levels by bolstering coping skills but there are other methods of reducing stress as well.  Below is a list of tips that one can utilize to deal with stress:

Regular Exercise

Good Sleep Hygiene

Proper Nutrition

Social Support from Family and Friends

Owning a Pet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *