How Much of a Worrier Are You? A Self-Assessment Quiz
We are, perhaps, uniquely among the earth's creatures, the worrying animal. We worry away our lives, fearing the future, discontent with the present, unable to take in the idea of dying, unable to sit still.
Everyone is a worrier some of the time. But are you an excessive worrier? How can you get a handle on how much worry is normal and how much is too much? How do you know when to get help? You need to look at how you worry. Are you a mild, moderate, or severe worrier? We don't have instruments to make these measurements, so we offer some guidelines here.
While we do not have a meter to measure worry, nonetheless people can rate themselves in terms of the intensity of their worrying as compared to that of their peers. In order to quantify how much you worry and find out how severe a worrier you are, I suggest that you take the following quiz. In response to each of the questions, give yourself 0 points if your answer is "rarely or not at all," 1 point if your answer is "sometimes," 2 points if your answer is "often," and 3 points if your answer is "almost every day." The questions that are starred (*) at the end (numbers 46-50) represent major risk factors for becoming an excessive worrier. Each of these questions should be answered simply "yes" or "no." Give yourself 3 points for each "yes" and 0 points for each "no." Answer all the other questions on the 0, 1, 2, or 3 scale just described.
____1. Do you wish you worried less?
____2. Do worries pop into your mind and take over your thinking, like annoying little gnats?
____3. Do you find something to worry about even when you know everything is OK?
____4. How much did you worry as a child?
____5. Do others comment on how much you worry?
____6. Does your spouse (or person closest to you) tell you that you worry too much?
____7. Do you find that worry clouds your judgment?
____8. Do you tarnish good times with worry?
____9. Do you dwell upon a time or times you were unfairly sued, slandered, unexpectedly fired, downsized, or otherwise victimized by injustice?
____10. Do you worry that good friends will turn on you?
____11. Do you think about death and get frightened?
____12. Do you worry about your health in a way that you know, or others have told you, is excessive or irrational?
____13. How often do you worry about money?
____14. Do you know or do other people tell you that most of your worries are irrational?
____15. Do you become immobilized by worry?
____16. Are you more concerned than you wish you were with what others think of you?
____17. Do you develop physical symptoms in response to stress?
____18. Do you tend to brood over possible danger rather than doing something about it?
____19. Do you drink or use other drugs when you get worried?
____20. Do you find yourself unable to make use of reassurance when you worry?
____21. Do you ruminate, i.e., go over the same worry again and again?
____22. In the midst of success do you find yourself feeling apprehensive, wondering what will go wrong?
____23. When you are alone, is some degree of fear your resting state?
____24. Do you feel that it is dangerous, almost like tempting fate, to feel confident and secure?
____25. Are you inhibited and/or shy?
____26. How much do you procrastinate?
____27. Are you plagued by a feeling that nothing can work out well?
____28. How often do you feel that something bad is "about to happen"?
____29. Do your daydreams tend to be gloomy?
____30. When you sort through your mail, do you feel a sense of foreboding, wondering what bad news may have arrived today?
____31. Do you avoid confrontations?
____32. Are you insecure?
____33. Are you alone more than you'd like to be?
____34. Do you look for what is wrong with your hotel room or your rental house/condo the minute you enter it?
____35. Do you find compliments and/or reassurance hard to take?
____36. Do you feel that nobody knows "the real you"?
____37. Do you find yourself drawn to negative thoughts even when you're otherwise in a good mood?
____38. Do you wonder if someone is out to get you or is trying to take advantage of you?
____39. Do you tend to dismiss as superficial people who are cheerful or optimistic?
____40. Would people describe you as imaginative or creative?
____41. Is it hard for you to shake off criticism, even if you know the criticism is inaccurate?
____42. Do you fail to live up to the standards you set for yourself?
____43. Do you feel an unmet need for reassurance?
____44. Do you lose perspective easily, worrying over some relatively minor matter as if it were a major concern?
____45. Do you feel compelled to worry that a certain bad thing might happen, such as a business deal falling through, or your child not getting picked for the team, or your financial situation collapsing, out of an almost superstitious feeling that if you don't worry about it the bad thing will happen, while if you do worry about it, your worrying might actually prevent the negative outcome?
____*46. Did you ever suffer physical, sexual, or psychological abuse?
____*47. Did you have few secure attachments to other people as a child and/or would you describe your childhood as unstable?
____*48. Do you have symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder, e.g., habits or ritualistic behavior that you cannot resist and/or intrusive obsessive thoughts that won't go away; or symptoms of panic attacks, e.g., sudden episodes of intense feelings of panic accompanied by physical symptoms of sweating, elevated heart rate, and rapid breathing; or symptoms of recurring, intense anxiety?
____*49. Do you have a family history (in your parents and/or grandparents) of depression or obsessive-compulsive disorder, or panic attacks, or anxiety disorders, or substance abuse?
____*50. Do you have any medical conditions that have been ascribed by your doctor at least in part to excessive worry?
The minimum score on this test is 0. If you scored 0, I'd like to meet you. You must be a supremely secure and confident individual--or maybe you fudged your answers so as not to worry!
The maximum score is 150. If you scored 150, it is good that you are reading this book.
A rough breakdown as to the meaning of your score would be as follows:
0-25: Low. You are not an excessive worrier.
26-75: Potential Danger Zone. You may have some tendencies toward worry that this book can help you with.
76-150: Danger Zone. If you worry this much, consider consulting a professional. This much worry is not good for you physically, emotionally, or spiritually, and it can impair your life at home, at work, and especially when you're by yourself.From the Hardcover edition.
Excerpted from Worry by Edward M. Hallowell, M.D.. . Excerpted by permission of Ballantine Books, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.