What is the relationship between stressful life experiences and disease?

Dr. Holmes and Dr. Rahe developed, the Social Readjustment Rating Scale (SRRS). They had  hypothesized that stressful  events would be positively correlated with illness. The SRRS demonstrated a positive correlation  between people who reported stressful events and their increased chances of becoming ill. 

Hyperlink: Wikipedia or calculate your score below.

Death of a Spouse

100

Divorce

73

Marital separation

65

Jail term

65

Death of close family member

63

Personal injury or illness

63

Marriage

50

Fired at work

47

Marriage reconciliation

45

Retirement

45

Change in health of family member

44

Pregnancy

40

Sexual dysfunction

39

Gain of a new family member

44

Business readjustment

38

Change in financial status

38

Death of a close friend

37

Change to different line of work

36

Change in number of arguments with spouse

35

Mortgage over $10,000

31

Foreclosure of mortgage or loan

30

Change in responsibilities at work

29

Son or daughter leaving home

29

Trouble with in-laws

29

Outstanding personal achievement

28

Spouse begins or stops work

26

Begin or end school

26

Change in living conditions

25

Revision of personal habits

24

Trouble with boss

23

Change in work hours or conditions

20

Change in residence

20

Change in schools

20

Change in recreation

20

Change in church activities

19

Change in social activities

19

Mortgage or loan less than $10,000

17

Change in sleeping habits

16

Change in number of family get-togethers

15

Change in eating habits

13

Vacation

13

Christmas

12

Minor violation of the law

11

To find your score, check the events applying to you during the past 12 months. Then add up the total value. Your total score______

Some stress is necessary for life, but too much may be harmful according to  the Homes-Rahe scale developed by Dr. Thomas Holmes and Richard H. Rahe at the University of Washington medical school. The scale suggests that a person scoring less than 150 on the scale has only a 50 percent chance of becoming ill during the next two years. A score of 150 and above  raises the odds of illness to 90 percent.

What does this index suggest for you? Does it seem accurate to you?  Why or why not? What do you think that the duration and intensity of the event have to do with stress? What does an individual's perception have to do with the stress? What are the strengths in attempting to develop a stress scale and what are some of the pitfalls? What research questions does the scale raise? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holmes_and_Rahe_stress_scale

E-mail: rbrehm@msn.com  Copyright 1998 [ Robert Brehm]. All rights reserved.