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Counseling & Psychological Services
Montana State University
P.O. Box 173180
Bozeman, MT 59717-3180

Tel: (406) 994-4531
Fax: (406) 994-2485
Location: 211 Swingle
> Counseling & Psychological Services
Counseling Services

Rate Yourself on the "Life Change Scale"

Research indicates that persons who total 200 points or more on the following scale within a 12-month period are more prone to physical and psychological stress-related illness than those who score less. To see where you stand, simply total the number of stress points you have accumulated in the last year. Note that both pleasant and unpleasant "life events" can cause stress.

(Life Change Scale)

Death of spouse 100
Divorce 73
Marital separation 65
Jail term 63
Death of close family member 63
Personal injury or illness 53
Marriage 50
Fired at work 47
Marital reconciliation 45
Retirement 45
Change of health in family member 44
Pregnancy 40
Sex difficulties 39
Gain of new family member (birth, adoption, older adult moving in) 39
Business readjustment 39
Change in financial state (much worse or much better) 39
Death of close friend 37
Change to different line of work 36
Change in number of arguments with spouse (more or less) 35
Loan of over $10,000 31
Foreclosure of mortgage or loan 30
Change in responsibilities at work (promotion, demotion, transfer) 29
Child leaving home (marriage, attending college) 29
Trouble with in-laws 29
Outstanding personal achievement 28
Spouse begins or stops work 26
Begin or end of school 26
Change in living conditions (remodeling, deterioration of neighborhood) 25
Revision of habits (dress, manners, associations) 24
Trouble with boss 23
Change in work conditions 20
Change in residence 20
Change in schools 20
Change in church activities 19
Change in recreation 19
Change in social activities 18
Loan less than $10,000 17
Change in sleeping habits 16
Change in number of family get-togethers 15
Change in eating habits 15
Vacation 13
Christmas 12
Minor violations of the law (eg traffic ticket) 11

  1. Give yourself time to adjust. If you have experienced a major change, take it easy. Don't take actions that will heap additional changes on top of it. Just concentrate on learning to live with your new situation.
  2. Express your feelings. A willingness to express feelings and to reach out for help when you are under pressure will increase your chances of remaining healthy. Don't keep your feelings bottled up.
  3. Let your personality be your guide. If you are a highly ambitious, aggressive person, always in a hurry to get things done, try to take life a little more calmly. Be less competitive in sports and outside activities as well as on the job. However, this doesn't mean you should necessarily spend a "do-nothing" weekend after a pressure-filled week or take a long vacation after a major life change or period of stress. The sudden turn off may be worse for you than having something to do.

    Or may be you are the type of person who is easy-going and less competitive. You worry less and don't allow the clock to drive you. If so, you might suffer ill effects by doing what comes naturally - withdrawing during periods of heavy stress or intense competition. Actually, you might do better by being more active than usual; keeping somewhat busier to avoid becoming depressed.

    Both types of personalities should seek to alter their usual behavior gradually and strive to be a bit more like the other.

  4. Consider the impact of life changes when making decisions. For example, let's say that at this moment your life change score is high and you are offered a new job in a different line of work. It would mean moving elsewhere and onging on a different schedule with new people around you. One alternative would be to avoid the life change and stay where you are. The other would be to take the position but make a point to avoid additional stressful situations and take particular care of your health during the next two years.

    By knowing how much stress you are under - including that from pleasant events - you are better able to make well-timed decisions and to take good care of yourself when you are under a particularly high degree of pressure.


View Text-only Version Text-only Updated: 12/17/08
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