Finding your BestStressZone™ is essential for success, but do you know where you are right now? The Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) is one of the most widely used psychological instrument for measuring how we perceive press. It is a measure of the degree to which situations in one’s life are appraised as stressful.
Psychological stress is the extent to which persons perceive (appraise) that their demands exceed their ability to cope.
Each of the questions in the assessment helps determine how unpredictable, uncontrollable, and overloaded respondents find their lives.
The Perceived Stress Scale was published in 1983, and has become one of the most widely used psychological tests for measuring perceived stress. This assessment predicts both objective biological markers of stress and increased risk for disease among persons with higher perceived stress levels.
For example, individuals who score higher on the Perceived Stress Scale have been shown to have increased levels of the biological markers of aging, including increased cortisol levels and immune markers. In addition, a high score is correlated with an increased risk of depression, increased odds of infectious disease, delayed wound healing, and increased levels prostate-specific antigen levels in men.
Higher scores correspond to higher levels of stress. Scores around 12-14 are considered average. Usually, scores in this range indicate that your arousal levels are in the proper range, allowing you to be productive at work without feeling excessively stressed. Falling below this range can make it difficult to concentrate and stay motivation, and falling above this range indicates you may be at increased risk for stress-related disorders.
Find out if you are operating outside your BestStressZone™ by taking the 3 minute assessment below:
Scores of 20 or more are generally considered to indicate a level of stress that may be harmful to your health.
But even scores that indicate low levels of stress—commonly, scores of 4 or lower–could be problematic since they signal an insufficient level of arousal to keep you engaged in your work.
If this is the case, try to find healthy ways of raising your stress by taking on more challenging tasks or responsibilities. Increasing stress may feel counterintuitive, but remember that, according to the research, increasing arousal also corresponds to increasing attention and interest (up to a point).