Monday, March 31, 2008

Stress Scale

Making friends with the staff in our agency’s Member Care (now called ‘Member Development’) department has proven a strategic decision. They’re all such kind people who really care and have insight into how we’re doing and know how to express it well. One of the Member Development staff members, Mike, gave a presentation about their ministry at the meeting I was attending. At one point he passed out copies of the following tool used for evaluating one’s stress levels. 

Holmes-Rahe Scale
Adjusted for overseas living; starred items have been added
Source: Heartstream Resources
Please mark events occurring in the last year of your life. If any events occur more than once a year, multiply the score.
Points Event
100 1. Death of a spouse or child
73 2. Divorce
65 3. Marital Separation
63 4. Jail term, personal assault,* terrorism near you*
63 5. Death of a close family member
63 6. Move to a foreign country*
53 7. Personal injury or serious illness
50 8. Marriage
50 9. Live/work in a foreign culture*
47 10. Learn a new language in a foreign country*
47 11. Fired at work
45 12. Marital reconciliation
45 13. Retirement
44 14. Change in health of a family member
40 15. Pregnancy
39 16. Difficulties in sexual life
39 17. Gain of a new family member
39 18. Do support discovery/deputation*
39 19. Business readjustment
38 20. Change in financial state
38 21. Learning to live without a fixed salary*
37 22. Death of a close friend
37 23. Leaving all relatives and close friends at one time*
36 24. Change to a different line of work
35 25. Change in number of arguments with spouse
31 26. Mortgage over $100,000
30 27. Foreclosure of mortgage or loan
30 28. Attend a candidate/training program to be evaluated
29 29. Change in responsibilities at work
29 30. Son or daughter leaving home

Mike gave us a few minutes to read through the list and evaluate ourselves. "A score above 200 is high, and indicates you are probably at risk for a physical or mental illness," he said. I’m not so bad off, I thought, even knowing some of the things that have been tough about my past year evaded such easy categories. I had only ticked two items. But then Mike pointed out that the sheet was two-sided; "Make sure you do the second side as well.” Drat. Here’s the rest of the list.
29 31. Trouble with in-laws
28 32. Outstanding personal achievement
26 33. Wife begins or stops work
25 34. Change in living conditions
24 35. Revision of personal habits
23 36. Trouble with boss
23 37. Being misunderstood by family/relatives*
22 38. Adjusting to a new climate*
20 39. Change in work hours or conditions
20 40. Change in residence
20 41. Change in schools
19 42. Change in recreation
19 43. Change in church activities
18 44. Change in social activities
18 45. Change in level of physical activities*
17 46. Mortgage or loan less than $100,000
16 47. Frequent travel away from home*
16 48. Change in sleeping circumstances
15 49. Change in number of family get-togethers
15 50. Making new close friends*
15 51. Change in eating habits/food available*
13 52. Vacation
12 53. Christmas
11 54. Minor violations of the law
? 55. Other stresses not listed
With the second page of items my score went up to about 300. I found another website that uses the Holmes-Rohe scale and it told me my score indicated I have an 80% chance of a serious illness within the next two years. Didn't say what I could do to prevent such a thing, to mitigate the effects of stressful things I've experienced. So that's not so helpful. May need to look into this more, eh?

But listen to this. Mike said the average cross-cultural missionary, even after a good term, may have a score of 600. Serious stuff. Guess we’d better take member care, debriefing, and the like pretty seriously!

NOTE: Yikes, one of my Member Development pals had a heart attack today and died. So the staff there are not only caring for people who have been through trauma, but facing it themselves.


the Cody Quester said...

hmmm...very interesting and kind of scary. my score was 386...but maybe one is supposed to be stressed in college?

Marti said...

Yes, you've been through a lot of changes in the last year, too! And it will probably continue like that. Not that it's all bad stress, is it? College can be so much fun! Thanks for writing...