Applying Psychology to Your Life

PSY 100 Get Off Your Computer Assignment #1


Applying Psychology to Your Life: Developing your Stress/Health Profile













As noted in your text, chronic stress (long-term reactions to stressors) and daily hassles can be damaging to your physical and psychological health. No one can avoid stress. However, there are a number of factors that can either contribute to becoming overwhelmed by stress or to flourishing in spite of it. For example, having a sense of control, social support, relaxation, and a sense of meaning can all contribute to effectively combating the effects of stress.


In this exercise, you will complete a number of scales to help you determine your stress level, how you respond to and cope with stress, and resources you have to combat stress. You will use the results of these scales to develop your personal stress profile. To make the exercise more fun, you might want to have you partner, spouse, or friend complete the scales too. That way you can compare your stress profiles.




A. Print, complete, and score the following scales. Do NOT READ HOW TO SCORE A SCALE UNTIL AFTER YOU HAVE COMPLETED IT.


1. Stressed Out

2. Susceptibility to Stress (SUS)

3. Response to Stress Scale

4. Are you a Type A or Type B?

5. Coping with Stress

6. Multidimensional Health Locus of Control

7. Locus of Control

8. Life Orientation Test


B. Identify at Least 5 of Your Personal Stressors and 5 Daily Hassles


C. Using the information gathered in A and B, write a 3- to 5-page self-reflection paper that includes the following sections:


1. Discuss your scores on each of the above scales and write a couple of brief statements about what that score means for you. Were you surprised by the score(s)? Did the results of the scales resonate with your perception of your stress level?

2. Incorporating information from your text and other academic sources, provide a summary of your stressors and life hassles.

3. Incorporating information from your text and other academic sources (journal articles, books, .gov, .edu, or .org websites), provide a summary of what you might do to better manage your stress.

4. Discuss the issue of personal stress as it relates to psychological well-being. Relate your own results and thoughts about your experience with these scales to the information provided in the text and other academic sources.

Paper Guidelines and Rubric


· Your paper MUST have all 4 sections described in part C of the assignment

· You must include your textbook and at least one peer-reviewed journal article as references

· In-text citations and references should be documented in APA format

· Paper should be 3- to 5-pages double spaced











Scale #1: Stressed Out?


This scale will assess your general level of stress.


Indicate your degree of agreement with each statement by placing a number in the blank before it. Use the following scale.


4 = very often

3 = fairly often

2 = sometimes

1 = almost never

0 = never


____1. How often have you been upset because of something that happened unexpectedly?


____2. How often have you felt that you were unable to control the important things in your life?


____3. How often have you felt nervous and “stressed”?


____4. How often have you felt confident about your ability to handle your personal problems?


____5. How often have you felt that things were going your way?


____6. How often have you been able to control irritations in your life?


____7. How often have you found that you could not cope with all the things that you had to do?


____8. How often have you felt that you were on top of things?


____9. How often have you been angered because of things that were outside your control?


____ 10. How often have you felt difficulties were piling up so high that you could not overcome them?


In obtaining your total score, use the following scale to reverse the number you placed before items 4, 5, 6, and 8: 4 = 0, 3 = 1, 2 = 2, 1 = 3, and 0 = 4. Then, add the numbers in front of all 10 items.


How You Measure Up


Stress levels vary among individuals. Compare your total score to the averages below:




18–29 14.2 Men 12.1 Widowed 12.6

30–44 13.0 Women 13.7 Married or living with 12.4

45–54 12.6 Single or never wed 14.1

55–64 11.9 Divorced 14.7

65+ 12.0 Separated 16.6



Scale # 2: Susceptibility to Stress (SUS)


How susceptible you are to stress depends upon a mix of your health behaviors, life-style, and resources for coping with stress. This test will help you determine your level of susceptibility and the factors that contribute to it. Fill in 1 ( ALMOST ALWAYS) to 5 (NEVER) according to how much of the time an item is true of you.


___ 1. I eat at least one hot, balanced meal a day.


___ 2. I get 7-8 hours sleep at least 4 nights a week.


___ 3. I give and receive affection regularly.


___ 4. I have at least one relative within 50 miles on whom I can rely.


___ 5. I exercise to the point of perspiration at least twice a week.


___ 6. I avoid tobacco use (cigarettes, pipe, cigars, snuff, chewing tobacco).


___ 7. I consume fewer than 5 alcoholic drinks per week.


___ 8. I am the appropriate weight for my height.

___ 9. I have an income adequate to meet basic expenses.


___ 10. I get strength from my religious beliefs.


___ 11. I regularly attend club or social activities.


___ 12. I have a network of friends and acquaintances.


___ 13. I have one or more friends to confide in about personal matters.


___ 14. I am in good health (including eyesight, hearing, teeth).


___ 15. I am able to speak openly about my feelings when angry or worried.


___ 16. I have regular conversations with the people I live with about domestic problems (e.g., chores, money, and daily living issues).


___ 17. I do something for fun at least once a week.


___ 18. I am able to organize my time effectively.

___ 19. I drink fewer than 3 cups of coffee (or tea or cola drinks) per day.


___ 20. I take quiet time for myself during the day.


___ 21. I have an optimistic outlook on life.


Scoring: To obtain your total score, simply add the numbers you placed in front of the 21 items, and subtract 21. Any number over 32 indicates susceptibility to stress. A total score between 52 and 77 suggests serious susceptibility, and over 77 means extreme susceptibility.


Source: Susceptibility to Stress scale from the Stress Audit, version 5.0-OS, developed by Lyle H. Miller and Alma Dell Smite. Copyright 1987, 1994, Biobehavioral Institute of Boston.




Scale # 3: Response to Stress


Indicate how often each of the following happens to you, either when you are experiencing stress or following exposure to a significant stressor. Use the following scale:

0 = never

1 = once a year

2 = every few months

3 = every few weeks

4 = once or more each week

5 = daily


Cardiovascular symptoms Skin symptoms

___ Heart pounding ___ Acne

___ Heart racking or beating erratically ___ Excessive dryness of skin or hair

___ Cold, sweaty hands ___ Dandruff

___ Headaches ___ Perspiration

___ Subtotal ___ Subtotal



Respiratory symptoms Immunity symptoms

___ Rapid, erratic, or shallow breathing ___ Allergy flare-up

___ Shortness of breath ___ Catching colds

___ Asthma attack ___ Catching the flu

___ Difficulty in speaking because of poor breathing ___ Skin rash

___ Subtotal ___ Subtotal



Gastrointestinal symptoms Metabolic symptoms

___ Upset stomach, nausea, or vomiting ___ Increased appetite

___ Constipation ___ Increased craving for tobacco or sweets

___ Diarrhea ___ Thoughts racing or difficulty sleeping

___ Sharp abdominal pains ___ Feelings of crawling or nervousness

___ Subtotal ___ Subtotal



Muscular symptoms ___ Overall symptomatic total (add all

___ Headaches (steady pain) seven subtotals)

___ Back or shoulder pains

___ Muscle tremors or hands shaking

___ Arthritis

___ Subtotal



Score: Total scores between 0 and 35 indicate a low level of physical stress symptoms and little danger to long-tem physical health. Scores between 36 and 75 are judged to be average and are associated with an increased likelihood of psychophysiological illness. However, there may be no immediate threat to physical health. Scores between 76 and 140 suggest excessive physical stress symptoms; respondents with such high scores should probably take deliberate action to reduce their level of stress and thus to ward off the possibility of psychophysiological disorder.


Source: Allen, R., & Hyde, D. (1980). Investigations in stress control. Burgess Publishing.

Scale # 4: Are You a Type A or a Type B?


You can get a general idea of which personality type you more closely resemble by responding to the following statements. Reach each statement and circle one of the numbers that follow it, depending on whether the statement is definitely true for you, mostly true, mostly false, or definitely false. Scoring is explained below.


1 = definitely true 2 = mostly true 3 = mostly false 4 = definitely false


1. I am more restless and fidgety than most people. 1 2 3 4

2. In comparison with most people I know, I’m not very involved in my work. 1 2 3 4

3. I ordinarily work quickly and energetically. 1 2 3 4

4. I rarely have trouble finishing my work. 1 2 3 4

5. I hate giving up before I’m absolutely sure I’m licked. 1 2 3 4

6. I am rather deliberate in telephone conversations. 1 2 3 4

7. I am often in a hurry. 1 2 3 4

8. I am somewhat relaxed about my work. 1 2 3 4

9. My achievements are considered to be significantly higher than those of

most people I know. 1 2 3 4

10. Tailgating bothers me more than a car in front slowing me up. 1 2 3 4

11. In conversation, I often gesture with hands and head. 1 2 3 4

12. In rarely drive a car too fast. 1 2 3 4

13. I prefer work in which I can move around. 1 2 3 4

14. People consider me to be rather quiet. 1 2 3 4

15. Sometimes I think I shouldn’t work so hard, but something drives me. 1 2 3 4

16. I usually speak more softly than most people. 1 2 3 4

17. My handwriting is rather fast. 1 2 3 4

18. I often work slowly and deliberately. 1 2 3 4

19. I thrive on challenging situations. The more challenges I have the better. 1 2 3 4

20. I prefer to linger over a meal and enjoy it. 1 2 3 4

21. I like to drive a car rather fast when there is not speed limit. 1 2 3 4

22. I like work that is not too challenging. 1 2 3 4

23. In general, I approach my work more seriously than most people I know. 1 2 3 4

24. I talk more slowly than most people. 1 2 3 4

25. I’ve often been asked to be an officer of some group or groups. 1 2 3 4

26. I often let a problem work itself out by waiting. 1 2 3 4

27. I often try to persuade others to my point of view. 1 2 3 4

28. I generally walk more slowly than most people. 1 2 3 4

29. I eat rapidly even when there is plenty of time. 1 2 3 4

30. I usually work fast. 1 2 3 4

31. I get very impatient when I’m behind a slow driver and can’t pass. 1 2 3 4

32. It makes me mad when I see people not living up to their potential. 1 2 3 4

33. I enjoy being around children. 1 2 3 4

34. I prefer walking to jogging. 1 2 3 4

35. When I’m in the express line at the supermarket, I count the number of

items the person ahead of me has and comment if it’s over the limit. 1 2 3 4

36. I enjoy reading for pleasure. 1 2 3 4

37. I have high standards for myself and others. 1 2 3 4

38. I like hanging around talking to my friends. 1 2 3 4

39. I often feel that others are taking advantage of me or being inconsiderate. 1 2 3 4

40. If someone is in a hurry, I don’t mind letting her or her go ahead of me. 1 2 3 4



For each statement, two numbers represent Type A answers and two numbers represent Type B answers. Use the scoring sheet to determine how many TYPE A and Type B answers you gave. For example, if you circled 1, definitely true, for the first statement, you chose a Type A answer. Add up all your Type A answers and give yourself plus 1 point for each of them. Add up all of your Type B answers and give yourself minus 1 point for them.


1. 1, 2 + A; 3, 4 = B 11. 1, 2, = A; 3, 4 = B 21. 1, 2 = A; 3, 4 = B 31. 1, 2 =A; 3, 4 = B

2. 1, 2 = B; 3, 4 = A 12. 1, 2 = B; 3, 4 = A 22. 1, 2 = B; 3, 4 =A 32. 1, 2 = A; 3, 4 = B

3. 1, 2 = A; 3, 4 = B 13. 1, 2 = A; 3, 4 = B 23. 1, 2 = A; 3, 4 = B 33. 1, 2 = B; 3, 4 = A

4. 1, 2 = B; 3, 4 = A 14. 1, 2 = B; 3, 4 = A 24. 1, 2 = B; 3, 4 = A 34. 1, 2, = B; 3, 4 = A

5. 1, 2, = A; 3, 4 = B 15. 1, 2 = A; 3, 4 = B 25. 1, 2 = A; 3, 4 = B 35. 1, 2 = A; 3, 4 = B

6. 1, 2 = B; 3, 4 = A 16. 1, 2 = B; 3, 4 = A 26. 1, 2 = B; 3, 4 = A 36. 1, 2 = B; 3, 4 = A

7. 1, 2 = A; 3, 4 = B 17. 1, 2 = A; 3, 4 = B 27. 1, 2 = A; 3, 4 = B 37. 1, 2 = A; 3, 4 = B

8. 1, 2 = B; 3, 4 = A 18. 1, 2 = B; 3, 4 = A 28. 1, 2 = B; 3, 4 = A 38. 1, 2 = B; 3, 4 = A

9. 1, 2 = A; 3, 4 = B 19. 1, 2 = A; 3, 4 = B 29. 1, 2 = A, 3, 4 = B 39. 1, 2 = A; 3, 4 = B

10.1, 2 = B; 3, 4 = A 20. 1, 2 = B; 3, 4 = A 30. 1, 2 = A; 3, 4 = B 40. 1, 2 = B; 3, 4 = A


Total number of Type A answers: _____x 1 point each = ______

Total number of Type B answers: _____x -1 point each = ______


Total score (add lines above) ______




Determine your personality type based on your total score:


+ 20 to +40 = Definite A


+1 to +19 = Moderate A


0 to -19 = Moderate B


-20 to -40 = Definite B





Source: Insel, P.M., & Roth, W. T. (1998). Wellness Worksheets to accompany Core Concepts in Health, 8/e. Worksheet #10. Copyright 1998, Mayfield Publishing Company.

Scale # 5: Coping with Stress


Different people use different strategies for coping with stress. Some strategies are clearly problem-focused, some are emotion-focused, and some are avoidance-focused. This scale will help you to identify which strategy you tend to use most often.


Take few minutes to identify the most important problem you have faced during the last year. Then, using the scale below, indicate how often you used each of the following strategies to deal with it.


0 = Not at all

1 = A little

2 = Occasionally

3 = Fairly often


___ 1. Took things a day at a time.

___ 2. Got away from things for a while.

___ 3. Tried to find out more about the situation.

___ 4. Tried to reduce tension by drinking more.

___ 5. Talked with a professional person (e.g., doctor, lawyer, clergy).

___ 6. Made a promise to myself that things would be different next time.

___ 7. Prepared for the worst.

___ 8. Let my feeling out somehow.

___9. Took it out on other people when I felt angry or depressed.

___ 10. Prayed for guidance and/or strength.

___ 11. Accepted it; nothing could be done.

___ 12. Talked with spouse or another relative about the problem.

___ 13. Talked with a friend about the problem.

___ 14. Tried to reduce tension by taking more tranquilizing drugs.

___ 15. Told myself things that helped me feel better.

___ 16. Kept my feelings to myself.

___ 17. Bargained or compromised to get something positive from the situation.

___ 18. Tried to reduce tension by exercising more.

___ 19. Tried to reduce tension by smoking more.

___ 20. Tried to see the positive side of the situation.

___ 21. Considered several alternatives for handling the problem.

___ 22. Made a plan of action and followed it.

___ 23. Went over the situation in my mind to try to understand it.

___ 24. Tried to reduce tension by eating more.

___ 25. Got busy with other things to keep my mind off the problem.

___ 26. Drew on my past experiences.

___ 27. Avoided being with people in general.

___ 28. I knew what had to be done and tried harder to make things work.

___ 29. Tried to step back from the situation and be more objective.

___ 30. Refused to believe that it happened.

___ 31. Sought help from persons or groups with similar experiences.

___ 32. Tried not to act too hastily or follow my first hunch.



Coping Strategies: You can calculate your average score for each subscale to determine what strategy you tend to use more.


Active-cognitive (active efforts to construct thoughts to help cope with the problems): items 1, 6, 7, 10, 11, 15, 20, 21, 23, 26, and 29. Add the scores for these items to get a total.


Active-behavioral (active efforts to change the situation): items 2, 3, 5, 8, 12, 13, 17, 18, 22, 25, 28, 31, and 32. Add the scores for these items to get a total.

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