The Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) is a classic stress assessment instrument. The tool, while originally
developed in 1983, remains a popular choice for helping us understand how different situations affect
our feelings and our perceived stress. 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 indicate the alternative that seems like
a reasonable estimate.
Complete this simple stress test to measure the stress in your life.
1.l. In the last month, how often have you been upset because of something that happened unexpectedly?
2.2. In the last month, how often have you felt that you were unable to control the important things in your life?
3.3. In the last month, how often have you felt nervous and stressed?
4.4. In the last month, how often have you felt confident about your ability to handle your personal problems?
5.5. In the last month, how often have you felt that things were going your way?
6.6. In the last month, how often have you found that you could not cope with all the things that you had to do?
7.7. In the last month, how often have you been able to control irritations in your life?
8.8. In the last month, how often have you felt that you were on top of things?
9.9. In the last month, how often have you been angered because of things that happened that were outside of your control?
10.10. In the last month, how often have you felt difficulties were piling up so high that you could not overcome them?
Figuring Your PSS Score
You can determine your PSS score by following these directions:
• First, reverse your scores for questions 4, 5, 7, and 8. On these 4 questions, change the scores like
0 = 4, 1 = 3, 2 = 2, 3 = 1, 4 = 0.
• 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
► 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.
Disclaimer: The scores on the following self-assessment do not reflect any particular diagnosis or course of treatment.
They are meant as a tool to help assess your level of stress. If you have any further concerns about your current well