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The IMS Questionnaire

Do You Have Irritable Male Syndrome (IMS)

Copyright © 2004 by Jed Diamond

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The IMS Questionnaire

The Irritable Male Syndrome manifests itself through a number of feelings that can help us recognize where it is present in us or in someone we care about. The following questionnaire will help you assess IMS and the degree of seriousness. Everyone is irritable from time to time. Life is inherently stressful and there are inevitably things that bother us. What we want to know, though, is how irritable are we? Is our irritability excessive? Has it become entrenched? Does it seem to be getting worse? Is it causing problems for me or in my relationship with my family, friends, or community?

We don't have a precise instrument to measure IMS. We can't read your level of irritability like we can your blood pressure (though excessive irritability can lead to high blood pressure and other stress-related illnesses). Like so much in the psychological sciences we can only understand IMS by asking you questions and helping you reflect on what the answers mean in your own life. Let the score be a guide, not an absolute indicator that there is a problem or not a problem.

Reflect on how often you felt the following in the last month:

Measure: Not at all (0) Sometimes (1) Frequently (2) Most of the time (3)
1. Angry        
2. Impatient        
3. Blaming        
4. Dissatisfied        
5. Moody        
6. Fearful        
7. Discontented        
8. Hypersensitive        
9. Exhausted        
10. Grumpy        
11. Easily Upset        
12. Bored        
13. Aggressive        
14. Unloved        
15. Unappreciated        
16. Tense        
17. Touchy        
18. Tired        
19. Unloving        
20. Lonely        
21. Hostile        
22. Overwhelmed        
23. Destructive        
24. Demanding        
25. Depressed        
26. Frustrated        
27. Withdrawn        
28. Mean        
29. Sad        
30. Scared        
31. Numb        
32. Explosive        
33. Defensive        
34. Denies Problems        
35. Critical        
36. Troubled        
37. Desire to overeat        
38. Desire to use drugs or alcohol        
39. Need to withdraw behind TV, newspaper, computer, etc.        
40. Desire for increased time at work        
41. Need to sleep more or have trouble with sleep        
42. Impulsive        
43. Worried        
44. Less imtimacy        
45. A pull to argue and fight        
24. Sarcastic        
47. Jealous        
48. Stressed        
49. Uncompassionate        
50. Uncommunicative        
Number - add up the checks        
Multiply by x 0 x 1 x 2 x 3

Please don't use the questionnaire to prove to someone that you don't have a problem. Even if you don't score in the range, if your behavior is a causing stress in your family, take it seriously. On the other hand, don't use the questionnaire to prove someone else has a problem because they scored "high" on the test. For each feeling noted, check whether it is true of you (or the person you are rating) not at all or rarely (score 0), sometime (score 1), frequently (score 2), or most of the time (score 3). Thus the score can range from 0 to 150.

With that in mind, I have found the following scores to be worth considering. They are based on my own clinical experience with people I rated and who then took the questionnaire. The scores are also based on the 9,453 people who took the Irritable Male Syndrome and Male Depression Questionnaires on the Men's Health Website:

  • 0-25: None or few signs of IMS.
  • 26-49: Some indications of IMS. May need help or watchful waiting to see if things
  • improve or get worse.
  • 50-75 : IMS is likely and it is advisable to seek help.
  • 76 and higher: IMS is definitely present and getting help is most important.

Does this sound familiar? Drop me a line and let me know what you have experienced.

Sign up for Jed's exciting, informative, up-to-date men's health newsletter, and receive a FREE copy of Jed's booklet "Why Men Die Sooner and Live Sicker: And What You Can Do About It."
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This article first appeared on Gordon Clay's MenStuff Web site,

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