Get Your Personal Risk Score

Are you playing it too safe? Take this exclusive quiz to find out how harm avoidant you are.

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Answer "True" or "False" to the following statements:

1. I usually am confident that everything will go well, even in situations that worry most people.

2. I often feel tense and worried in unfamiliar situations, even when others feel there is little to worry about.

3. I often avoid meeting strangers because I lack confidence with people I do not know.

4. I have less energy and get tired more quickly than most people.

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5. Usually I am more worried than most people that something might go wrong in the future.

6. I usually stay calm and secure in situations that most people would find physically dangerous.

7. When I have to meet a group of strangers, I am more shy than most people.

8. I usually feel much more confident and energetic than most people, even after minor illnesses or stress.

9. If I am embarrassed or humiliated, I get over it very quickly.

10. I often feel tense and worried in unfamiliar situations, even when others feel there is no danger at all.

11. I would probably stay relaxed and outgoing when meeting a group of strangers, even if I were told they are unfriendly.

12. It is extremely difficult for me to adjust to changes in my usual way of doing things because I get so tense, tired, or worried.

13. I nearly always stay relaxed and carefree, even when nearly everyone else is fearful.

14. I am usually confident that I can easily do things that most people would consider dangerous (such as driving an automobile fast on a wet or icy road) .

15. I feel very confident and sure of myself in almost all social situations.

16. I am more energetic and tire less quickly than most people.

17. I often stop what I am doing because I get worried, even when my friends tell me everything will go well.

18. I usually feel tense and worried when I have to do something new and unfamiliar.

19. I am not shy with strangers at al.

20. I recover more quickly than most people from minor illnesses or stress.

Go to the next page to get your scores.


Give yourself one point for each of the following answers: 1-false, 5-true, 9-false, 13-false, 17-true.

A score of 3 or more is above average. You think ahead for possible problems, but this may make you too pessimistic, leading you to miss out on beneficial opportunities at work or with friends. Try to keep an open mind when faced with new ventures, and visualize all the possible outcomes — positive as well as negative — without dwelling on one. Then think about what you can do to make the positive one happen.

A score of 0 or 1 is below average. You're confident in yourself and the future, but you can be overly optimistic, even cocky. If your high hopes aren't realized, you could end up crushed and discouraged. Don't assume that projects or relationships will work out just because you want them to. Instead, think analytically about what you can do to help achieve your goals.


Give yourself one point for each of the following answers: 2-true, 6-false, 10-true, 14-false, 18-true.

A score of 4 or 5 is above average. You are extremely cautious, but being scared of everything is counterproductive. Try taking a "safe" risk — order a new entrée at your favorite restaurant, or accept a date you normally wouldn't. You might be surprised by the outcome.

A score of 0 or 1 is below average. You're a bona fide daredevil, and though you love the excitement, taking too many risks can backfire when something goes wrong. Consider taking on calculated risks, where you understand — and accept — the possible downside before putting yourself out there.


Give yourself one point for each of the following answers: 3-true, 7-true, 11-false, 15-false, 19-false.

A score of 4 or 5 is above average. You are socially reserved and may be missing out on friendships and events you'd probably enjoy. Commit to one new social activity per day; get lunch with your colleagues or start a conversation on your morning commute. You might find you were chattier than you knew once you give yourself permission to speak up.

A score of 0 or 1 is below average. Although you are outgoing, and feel comfortable in most social settings, you might come on too strong. Try to create a balance in your next conversation: are you talking or listening more? Ask questions instead of issuing rapid-fire opinions.


Give yourself one point for each of the following answers: 4-true, 8-false, 12-true, 16-false, 20-false.

A score of 3 or greater is above average. You tire easily, but you can work around this by planning to conserve energy. Make sure to build downtime into your day, whether it's a five-minute breather between meetings or a half-hour nap before dinner. Stick to your scheduled breaks or you'll run the risk of winding down too early.

A score of 0 or 1 is below average. You're full of beans, but you might be wasting energy on side projects. Be discriminating in committing to new projects, whether it's setting up your roommate or hosting a dinner party for the in-laws. Think about how satisfying you'll find the final outcome, and take on the challenges that will truly reward you.


Add the four scores for worried, fearful, shy, and fatigable.

A score of 12 or higher is in the top third of Harm Avoidance. You may be too anxiety-prone, leading to needless stress and anxiety.

A score of 7 to 11 is in the middle third of Harm Avoidance. You are about average in terms of anxiety-proneness.

A score of 6 or less is in the lowest third of Harm Avoidance. You're fun-loving and outgoing, but may be reckless when it comes to the personal safety of yourself or others.

Quiz prepared for Marie Claire by C. Robert Cloninger, MD, adapted from the Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI), copyright C. Robert Cloninger. All rights reserved by the author. You can take the full TCI online at Permission for any reproduction must be obtained from Dr. Cloninger via the Anthropedia Foundation.

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