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
2. Divorce 73
3.  Marital separation 65
4. Jail term 63
5. Death of close family member 63
6. Personal injury or illness 53
7. Marriage 50
8. Fired at work 47
9. Marital reconciliation  45
10. Retirement 45
11. Change in health of a family member 44
12. Pregnancy 40
13. Sex difficulties 39
14. Gain of new family member 39
15. Business readjustment 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
41. Vacation 13
42.  Christmas 12
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:



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