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Perceived Stress Scale
The questions in this scale ask about your feelings and thoughts during the last month. In each case, you will be asked to indicate how often you felt or thought a certain way. Although some of the questions are similar, there are differences between them and you should treat each one as a separate question. The best approach is to answer fairly quickly. That is, don’t try to count up the number of times you felt a particular way; rather, just a reasonable estimate.
Score the first 6 questions as shown below
0 = never 1 = almost never 2 = sometimes 3 = fairly often 4 - very often
1. In the last month, how often have you been upset because of something that happened unexpectedly?
2. In the last month, how often have you felt that you were unable to control the important things in your life?
3. In the last month, how often have you felt nervous and stressed?
4. In the last month, how often have you found that you could not cope with all the things that you had to do?
5. In the last month, how often have you been angered because of things that happened that were outside of your control?
6. In the last month, how often have you felt difficulties were piling up so high that you could not overcome them?
On the final 4 questions, change the scoring as shown below.
0 = very often 1= fairly often 2 = sometimes 3 = almost never 4 = never
7. In the last month, how often have you felt confident about your ability to handle your personal problems?
8. In the last month, how often have you felt that things were going your way?
9. In the last month, how often have you been able to control irritations in your life?
10. In the last month, how often have you felt that you were on top of things?
Now add up your scores for each item to get a total. My total score is .
Individual scores on the PSS can range from 0 to 40
With higher scores indicating higher perceived stress.
► Scores ranging from 0-13 would be considered low stress.
► Scores ranging from 14-26 would be considered moderate stress.
► Scores ranging from 27-40 would be considered high perceived stress.
The Perceived Stress Scale is interesting and important because your perception of what is happening in your life is most important. Consider the idea that two individuals could have the exact same events and experiences in their lives for the past month. Depending on their perception, total score could put one of those individuals in the low stress category and the total score could put the second person in the high stress category.
Levels of appraised stress are influenced by daily hassles, major events, and changes in coping resources, so the validity of the score is expected to fall off rapidly after four to eight weeks.
The scores on the above self-assessment do not reﬂect any particular diagnosis or course of treatment. They are meant only as a tool to help assess your level of stress. If you have any concerns about your current well-being, you should follow-up with your health care provider.