by Dr. Dave Carder

I originally created an evaluation like the one below to identify, prior to adultery, individuals in the ministry who were at risk for infidelity. Yet it applies to anyone – not just to pastors, although those with Christian backgrounds will identify most closely with it.

First, though, a caveat: This is not a scientific instrument, and it should not be used as such. It does not have absolute predictive power. Rather, it is meant to be used as a tool to identify personal growth areas for you and your spouse to discuss and develop. It is designed to help you evaluate your personal history and lifestyle for parallels with those who have been involved in adultery.

Personal Patterns Predicting Infidelity – Personal and Family History
1. Did you grow up in a family that used a substantial amount of alcohol?
__________ Yes __________ No
2. Were your parents strict disciplinarians, possibly even abusive at times?
__________ Yes __________ No
3. Were you sexually molested as a child?
__________ Yes __________ No
4. Did you experience early adolescent heterosexual activity with an older
partner (babysitter, older sister’s friend)?
__________ Yes __________ No
5. Were you involved in pornography prior to puberty (magazines, video)?
__________ Yes __________ No
6. While you were living at home, was either of your parents involved in an
extramarital affair?
__________ Yes __________ No
7. Were you sexually active with a variety of partners in adolescence?
__________ Yes __________ No Lifestyle Patterns

Please use the following criterion to answer questions 8-25: The higher the score, the truer the statement.

8. As an adolescent I did not get along with authority figures, and I continue
to have conflict with the law and my supervisor.
1  2  3  4  5
9. I feel driven, unable to relax or have fun.
1  2  3  4  5
10. My self-control and anger management skills are strengths in my life.
1  2  3  4  5
11. I like testing the limits that surround me, such as the speed limit, tax
and banking laws, church policies, and so on.
1  2  3  4  5
12. I enjoy getting through a project so that I can get on with the next one.
It is important to me to have a number of projects waiting for my attention.
1  2  3  4  5
13. I feel alone even in my marriage and am unable to share my fears,
deepest feelings, and the longings of my heart with my spouse.
1  2  3  4  5
14. I recognize in myself the tendency toward compulsive behavior, such as
food, exercise, work, spending or saving money, fast driving, and so on.
1  2  3  4  5
15. I have lots of acquaintances and appear to be close to my family
members, but I don’t have one intimate friend.
1  2  3  4  5
16. I like to win and am a fierce competitor in whatever I do.
1  2  3  4  5
17. My dating life was marked by a series of broken relationships that I
1  2  3  4  5 18. I feel stressed out, almost numb, from all the demands of my
responsibilities in life.
1  2  3  4  5
19. I like to be around important people and find myself playing up to them.
1  2  3  4  5
20. My financial history contains a series of bounced checks, a large debt-toincome ratio, poor credit, regular use of credit cards to support my lifestyle,
or possibly even bankruptcy.
1  2  3  4  5
21. I have trouble expressing my anger in ways that provide relief without
wounding others emotionally.
1  2  3  4  5
22. I don’t mind conflict and find that it actually helps me feel better and
more in control.
1  2  3  4  5
23. I like to see what I can get away with by living “close to the edge.”
1  2  3  4  5
24. An area that the Lord has to help me with is a tendency to harbor
grudges and a desire for revenge.
1  2  3  4  5
25. Most of those who know me would say I am intense, easily irritated, and
have high standards of excellence.
1  2  3  4  5

Circumstantial Factors
Give yourself 5 points for each of the items you have experienced within the past year.

26. Lost a close loved one (child, parent, spouse). _____
27. Suffered a major stressor (job loss or promotion, divorce, medical
diagnosis or hospitalization, cross-country move). _____
28. Approached a major life transition (pregnancy, midlife, retirement).

Test Scoring
Questions 1-7

  • “Yes” answers count 10 points each. If all seven questions are answered yes, give yourself an additional 40 points.

Total score for questions 1-7: _____

Questions 8-25

  • Total the numbers that you circled.

Total score for questions 8-25: _____

Questions 26-28

  • Five points for each category experienced.

Total score for questions 26-28: _____


Evaluation of Score

  • Questions 1-7. A score over 50 for this section places you in the high risk group.
  • Questions 8-25. A score over 70 for this section places you in the high risk group.
  • Questions 26-28. These are the trigger mechanisms that often send a person at risk into an affair.
  • Total score. A score over 100 places you in the high risk group.

One word of warning – high risk individuals are more vulnerable than they realize. Whatever you do, do not discount your initial score – talk it over with your spouse, and start working on some of the issues discussed in this book.

Excerpted from Torn Asunder: Recovering from an Extramarital Affair, 109–112. Used with permission of Moody Publishers. © 1992, 1995, 2008 by David M. Carder and R. Duncan Jaenicke.