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Scoring the PSS
The PSS is not a diagnostic measure, so there are no 'categories' in the results. It's mostly used to measure changes in your stress levels over time. The maximum score for the PSS is 40; the lower your score, the better.
Although there are no categories, there are average scores which vary by age. If you score more than '6' above the average score for your age, you may have a high level of stress.
If you score '12' or more above the average for your age, you are likely to have a significantly high stress level, which is likely to be unhealthy in the long term.
A score of '6' or more below the average for your age suggests you're relatively stress-free.
| User's age ranges
||Average PSS scores
|18 – 29
|30 – 44
|45 – 54
|55 – 64
|65 – 99
For the PSS-14, see Cohen, S., Kamarck, T. and Mermelstein, R. (1983). A global measure of perceived stress. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 24, p.386-396.
For the PSS-10, see Cohen, S., and Williamson, G. (1988). Perceived stress in a probability sample of the United States. In S. Spacapan & S. Oskamp (Eds.) The social psychology of health: Claremont Symposium on applied social psychology. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.